I’m not sure if they say that it takes a community to have a baby but if they don’t then they should. In my experience so far, it definitely takes more than two people and I’m only 17 weeks pregnant.
When I first got sick with Hyperemesis, I was on honeymoon. We had just had the most amazing, three day wedding weekend in Tuscany with all of our nearest and dearest. We were on the highest of highs and our 10 day trip to the Maldives was meant to be the cherry on the cake. Instead, by day 3, I was curled up in bed, unable to move. Mr Bug was fantastic. He looked after me, comforted me when I cried about how unfair everything was and didn’t once even hint that this wasn’t the honeymoon he had been hoping for.
Once we got home, my parents – who live abroad – became my full-time carers. Together, we worked out what I could and couldn’t eat; what was staying down and what was coming up. They ran my baths, helped me wash my hair, rubbed my back when I was throwing up and, most importantly, just sat with me when I was sad so I wouldn’t be alone. They stayed with us for about three weeks until it seemed like I was improving, so they went home (a 9 hour flight away).
I then had a relapse and my Mum got back on a plane and looked after me for a further three weeks, leaving my Dad on his own. I felt guilty and I worried about my Dad being lonely but they were adamant. Mr Bug was also amazing and having my Mum around meant that he could still go to work every day without leaving me on my own. On the weekend, he’d try different things for me to eat and we’d sit on the sofa and watch silly TV to take my mind off things. He was worried and he was stressed but he kept smiling and giving me cuddles and telling me to keep going.
During this time, my brother and his wife, H, came to see us whenever they possibly could, keeping me company, making me laugh, gossiping, chatting and just being there. These are people that I didn’t need to pretend with; I didn’t need to put a brave face on or act as though I was feeling better than I was. I could just lie on the couch or run off to vomit without having to explain anything. Their presence honestly helped me from going absolutely crazy and I hope that each of them know how important and special they were to me at what was the worst time of my life.
Having a baby is hard. I have no doubt that when Baby Bug comes along, it’ll be tough. Amazing, but tough. This whole experience has taught me that reaching out and telling people that you need help is okay. With my friends and work colleagues, I’ve always tried to make things sound better than they are but I’ve tried hard not to do this here because we should be honest about things and tell the truth about the reality of what we’re going through. If we don’t, not only are we isolating ourselves but we’re also making it harder for others going through the same thing.