I’m 15+3 today and I’m thrilled to say that I’m a survivor of Hyperemesis Gravidarum. HG is an extreme version of morning sickness that can last for weeks (although doctors say symptoms should subside at the end of the first trimester; they say this encouragingly as if vomiting non-stop for three months isn’t that long). My symptoms started around week 6, were bad from week 8 and started to subside around week 14. It’s like having the worst hangover ever coupled with food poisoning but it doesn’t stop no matter how many times you puke your guts out. It’s extremely isolating and depressing, and I only coped with the support of my awesome husband, mum and family (as well as some online support: see below).
What made HG much, much harder was how unhelpful people are about it. Women are just expected to cope; to be happy they are pregnant; to DEAL with it. I asked a nurse at my local health centre about medication and she snapped back with “Haven’t you heard of thalidomide?”. So, not only are women suffering this debilitating condition but they are made to feel guilty for asking for help.
In fact: there is medication that women can take for HG. I urge anyone who is suffering to get help. There are different options and you have to try what is best for you – I found the Pregnancy Sickness Support website really helpful. There is also a Mumsnet chat forum on Hyperemesis Support; this has been a total lifeline during my most depressed, isolated hours. There are women on there who are currently suffering and women who have suffered and stick around to offer advice and support to others. It’s brilliant; and so nice to know you aren’t the only one.
A lot of people have said to me “Let’s hope you can start enjoying your pregnancy soon” but, actually, I don’t care about enjoying my pregnancy. I don’t NEED to enjoy it; I just need to get through it with a baby at the end – that’s the end goal. Women should not feel pressure to experience a certain type of pregnancy; if it’s shitty and horrible then grin and bear your way through the 9 months and laugh and say “Thank god that’s over!” when it’s done. It doesn’t define you as a woman, mother or person.
I’m going to use this blog to get my thoughts down on paper: the mundane, the funny, the crap, the painful, the memorable. I’m also hoping it’ll be a practical help to other expectant mums.
The journey starts here (well it started 15 weeks ago but I couldn’t vom and type so, effectively, it starts here).