When Morning Sickness Is No Joke

 , The Washington Post  |  Updated: May 04, 2016 20:34 IST

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When Morning Sickness Is No Joke
"I became very depressed, felt very isolated and began to resent the people who failed to understand," says Lisa, who lives in London. "I was away from my home and my husband for weeks and my parents and in-laws had to share the care of my daughter. . . . I also forgot I was pregnant most of the time and couldn't feel happy about it. I was just counting the days and trying to survive each one." She had guilt, too, over being unable to care for her daughter and over needing to move in with her own mom because her husband couldn't take time off to care for her. There was no opportunity for them, as a family of three, to celebrate the pregnancy. The family was broken apart for most of the pregnancy.

Kristin of Austin had just moved to a new city with her husband when her HG kicked in at the start of her pregnancy. They had not yet made friends in their new city and relied on each other for company, but she couldn't stand to be near her husband when he even slightly smelled of food or coffee, so she had to keep him at arm's length. "My husband revealed to me later that it was a very lonely time for him."

Resentment over being unable to enjoy pregnancy, anxiety over whether the medication needed to manage HG could have some effects on the baby, worry over the distance between them and their husbands, loss of trust in doctors, feelings of loss, upset at the knowledge that their dreams of a big family will likely never happen, and overwhelming depression are all valid, but when can these new mothers find the time to see doctors, specialists and therapists and try to heal? How many of these women had well-meaning loved ones who advised them to move on, not dwell on physical discomforts, be grateful that it's over, for there is now a beautiful baby here to focus energy on? Where is the message acknowledging the emotional trauma these women suffered, encouraging them to get help, assisting with the logistics so they can?While those of us who have been through it can appreciate that more people are becoming familiar with how serious hyperemesis gravidarum is, our hope is that women who might be dealing with HG now know that they are not alone, and there will be support for them for as many years as it takes to recover physically, financially and emotionally. We want medical professionals to educate themselves on the many layers of HG's side effects, and work with their patients to ensure they get proper treatment during and after. We want all women who deliver babies to then tell their loved ones they need their help to recover from HG, and acknowledge that some of those loved ones might need to recover, too. It took me years to get everything I needed, but no matter how it takes for us to heal, it is possible for us to move on.

Back at the theme park, my son was waiting for my answer. But he knew that the last time I tried a carousel, I was dizzy and sick for the rest of day, all plans cancelled while I sat in a dark room hoping to get my footing back.

"I'm sorry, sweetheart. You know I can't do them anymore. But what I can do is fill you and your sister up on cotton candy, fried dough, and lollipops, then hit every other activity in this place for as long as you want. Would that do?"

He smiled. "Can I have a burger and a slushy, too?"

I laughed and nodded, taking his hand as we moved on to whatever new adventures we could find - and do - together.


Kim Bongiorno is a freelance writer, author, and blogger based in New Jersey. Find her at letmestartbysayingblog.com.

(c) 2016, The Washington Post

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