As a mum-of-three suffering severe sickness in my fourth pregnancy, I am thrilled to see guidelines recently changed to recommend the importance of medication.
Invaluable charity Pregnancy Sickness Support appealed to the media to refer to the plight as pregnancy sickness or hyperemesis gravidarum - terms they feel more accurately help communicate the difficulties of this extremely debilitating condition.
Language is fundamental to how supported we feel. Misery is worsened by random friends or associates offering comments, showing they lack understanding. But if you still wish to irk a mum with hyperemesis, say these:
"Ginger worked for me."
It doesn't work for me. Not the tea, not the biscuits, not the weird twiggy sticks like witches' knuckles. Ginger can kiss my expanding butt.
"It's just morning sickness."
You've never had severe morning sickness then. I hope you never do. Well, that's a lie. I do kind of hope you get it. Then I will say this to you.
"Have you tried sucking lemons?"
"Are you eating healthily?"
When you're all hurly, the last thing you fancy is broccoli, cabbage and berries. I'm not made of kale, satsumas and sultanas. The slightest thimble of apple juice sends me racing for the sink.
"Make sure you drink water though."
Award the lady a PHD. It's keeping it in that's tricky, see?
"Was the baby planned?"
A thousand times yes. Oh - you mean if I knew I was going to feel ghastly and throwing up is vile, why did I want to add another much adored superhuman mini me to my amazing brood of best babies ever?
"Have you got some help?"
It's one of those things where the severity of the conundrum and harshness of the dilemma does not lend itself to the care required. Put me in a room with a bowl, fan and bucket of malted milks and leave me with a flannel and the remote control and come back in six months. That's the aid I need.
"Whatever you do, don't take tablets!"
This could only be uttered by one who hasn't spent most of the day crying into a toilet with stinging acid vomit leaking from her eyes and nose, with a little voice or three saying "are you ok, Mummy?" so sweetly it makes her more tearful, as her back is rubbed innocently by a chubby little hand. These words are designed to make me feel guilty for needing medication.
"Is that like Kate Middleton?"
What, except the future monarch growing inside her, her air ambulance pilot husband by her side, the infinite public purse to provide all the private residential care she needed and maids on hand to fan her, feed her, groom her, water her and IV drip hydrate her back to beauty and serenity, while the nation sympathetically looked on smiling, nodding and sending flowers, cards and gifts of love and joy? Identical yes.
"Buy some wristbands off Amazon."
Those ones that don't work for boat sickness, car sickness or air sickness. I'll save my fifteen quid. Your hyperemesis gravidarum might be totes gullible and easily bribed like a thick kid with a smiley sticker but mine is much more intelligent and discerning...
"Rub Vicks on your nose."
The 'logic' behind this pearl is that the aroma of the stuff used to combat colds acts as a defence, overwhelming every other smell, thus keeping your cream crackers in their rightful intestines. But if you can't tolerate the menthol hell smell on your snout for the rest of the week, this will be a hard learned lesson.
"If you eat little and often it goes away."
If regular snacking made severe morning sickness go away, nobody would need hospitalising. We could just eat all the time happily doing stuff like not actually throwing up. Perusing baby names and agonising over which colour muslins to buy and pondering if a Moses basket is essential and do we really need a Bumbo? (The answer is no) Normal pregnancy concerns would fill our sweeter smelling less puke-driven lives and bluebirds could sing round our liberated heads.
"Nibble cream crackers."
If I had a penny for every well-meaning stranger who told me to trust the cream crackers method of hyperemesis gravidarum cure I would be rich in cream crackers.
"Keep boring biscuits by your bed."
I do. It only sort of helps. If 45 minutes passes and I've not had a boring biscuit I will retch, perhaps at nothing at all, or the opening of the fridge door - or the lingering scent of a far off air freshener, which I smell with the increased scent of a thousand sniffer dogs on a police drug raid.
"I guess some people feel it worse."
It's an actual thing. Real. Not imagined. Not too many sweets after a kids' party. Not too many beers after college ended. Not too many prawns from a dodgy buffet. I might not have believed it myself had I not lived it.
"It can't be that bad - it's nature after all."
So are tsunamis, cancer and being trampled on by stampeding elephants. I know which I'd rather.
More:Morning Sickness Pregnancy Sickness Severe Morning Sickness Hyperemesis Hyperemesis Gravidarum
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