There are no words to articulate how miserable my pregnancy was. Simply stated- I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone. Is a baby a beautiful blessing? -absolutely. But that doesn’t mean I enjoyed the experience of bringing her in to this world.
Before Joshua left on deployment I was exhausted, all I wanted to do was sleep. I was constantly on the couch curled up in a blanket, passed out. I had no motivation to do anything and I simply thought that I was just depressed because he was leaving again for another deployment. Little did we know that I was actually about a month pregnant.
There’s always been this illusion that pregnancy is this ‘beautiful, glowing, happy moment of your life.’ I don’t doubt that some people do have a wonderful nine months of surreal bliss but for me it was the exact opposite. I was depressed, my husband was deployed, I was beyond sick, tired and miserable. I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) early in my pregnancy & was pretty much on the bathroom floor for the first 24 weeks.
I couldn’t take care of myself. I couldn’t go to the grocery store because the lights & smell made me throw up. I couldn’t drive because I got motion sick. I literally carried multiple trash bags in my purse at all times because I was constantly throwing up. My parents had to come live with me. My best friends ‘visited’ me when in reality they were just taking turns to come take care of me. Don’t get me wrong- I am incredibly grateful for every single person who supported me during the tough 9 months, but I never want to relive those moments. In the first couple of months I actually LOST close to 20 pounds instead of gaining weight as I progressed in my pregnancy.
We found out that we were pregnant in March and we didn’t publicly tell anyone until the end of June / beginning of July. I honestly wasn’t sure if I could continue on with being so sick until my due date in December. In between throwing up episodes I would just be crying because I was so miserable. I felt guilty because I *should* have been so happy that I was going to be bringing a tiny human in to this world- but all I could think about was not being pregnant anymore.
On top of me being sick, there were multiple pregnancy complications & people weren’t listening to me. They would ask ‘how are you doing?’ and when I respond with ‘I am miserable, I hate being pregnant.’ People would laugh at me. They would tell me that ‘this is normal,’ ‘I was sick too,’ ‘you’ll forget about it once the baby arrives.’ They didn’t understand.
Internally I would be screaming with frustration. This was not normal. I was so sick that I couldn’t stand, I would often have to hold on to people so I wouldn’t fall over. I couldn’t keep water down let alone food.
I didn’t have the energy to shower, to do my makeup or do my hair. I am so incredibly grateful that I was working from home because there was no way that I would have been able to go to an on site office job. I constantly lived in leggings & tank tops because I would be so nauseous and hot. This went on for the full nine months. I was literally sick from March to December.
Trying to explain your misery to someone is frustrating. Many people don’t understand and just respond with ‘it will be worth once the baby is here.’ But let’s be honest- that is the last thing that you want to hear. No one seems to understand how miserable you are. They think that you are just experiencing a normal pregnancy and complaining too much. But HG is an extremely serious thing that a lot of women don’t even realize that they have.
Signs of Hyperemesis Gravidarum
- feeling nearly constant nausea
- loss of appetite
- vomiting more than three or four times per day
- becoming dehydrated
- feeling light-headed or dizzy
- losing more than 10 pounds or 5 percent of your body weight due to nausea or vomiting
This website was a great resource for helping me understand that my experience wasn’t normal. However, I strongly encourage you (or your loved one) to discuss how severe your sickness is. Don’t be afraid to complain to your doctor – they are there to listen & help you. I was really lucky and had a great OBGYN who worked through a list of medication to find what actually helped make my sickness more manageable.
Remember to start small- with everything. Small sips of water. Small meals. Small amounts of exercise. Try to do something little every day. Did you manage to get out of bed today? GREAT. Did you manage to shower? Bonus points if you washed your hair. Maybe you finally brushed your teeth. Anything you can do is something to be proud of. Focus on accomplishing one thing per day. Depression can be a scary thing once it sets in so don’t look at the situation like ‘oh my gosh I have to deal with this for another six months.’
One Day at a Time.
Take a moment to realize that what you are going through is difficult. Take comfort in the fact that most people don’t understand what you’re experiencing because only .5 to 2% of women experience what you are going through. The experience is NOT normal. If you have people around you ask for help.
No matter how miserable you are- take photos. Pictures don’t have to include your face- just take a picture of your belly every week. I hardly have any photos of my early pregnancy because I was so sick. I have a few from the last couple of months but that’s all. . . I never even did a maternity shoot because I was so unhappy. We snapped a few picture before we left for the hospital & then took one when we got home too. That’s all I have.
You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.
Having Hyperemesis Gravidarum was an incredibly hard journey for me. Looking back on this time last year when I was pregnant I never thought that it would end. A lot of Doctors speak volumes about Postpartum Depression but no one speaks of depression during pregnancy. Please be mindful that depression can occur during any point of your life. Reach out to your doctor or a friend if you’re struggling.
I promise that even though life is incredibly difficult while experiencing HG – eventually things will get back to normal. You’ll become your old self again. But in the mean time – some of the basic things that helped me during pregnancy were Morning Sickness Tea and Sea Bands (anti-nauesa bands). Sleep as much as you can, and make sure to stretch often.
Sending you healthy ‘get well’ wishes regardless if you are struggling with HG or not.
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