[Published by iVillage here]
My most-used phrase lately has been “you don’t understand”. At the depths of despair, being wretchedly sick over the toilet for the umpteenth time that day – day after day, and week after week – there comes a point when there’s not much a very understanding husband can do. And, lashing out in my agony, I have to admit I’ve said those three words to my other half way too much lately.
I have honestly never experienced anything more horrible than the morning sickness I get during pregnancy. Yes, pregnancy is an absolutely amazing and astounding time. You’re growing a real life actual human, a little miracle, and bringing them into the world to join your family.
However, with my first pregnancy I was sick until I was around 24 weeks pregnant. Most days I would teeter at that “I’m about to vomit” tipping point for the entire day, and into the night. It was relentless. I didn’t think it could be much worse.
I was wrong. This time around – my second pregnancy – it’s insidious and literally never-ending. I’m now nearly 17 weeks pregnant. I have not felt good or stopped being sick for more than one day at a time.
Pregnancy can be tough no matter which number child it is for you. But in my opinion women raising even just one child while pregnant, let alone multiple, deserve a goddamn medal. Last pregnancy, I thought having to go to work every day was hard. I worked in a high-paced job with long hours. But in my book, staying at home raising a very active nearly 12-month-old while pregnant is ten times worse.
Gone are the days when I can sit in my corporate office and type, or feign interest in a meeting. This time around, there have been many times when I’m literally prone on the couch, unable to move, with my little boy squawking at me to play, giving me cranky looks or unleashing full blown crying, but I literally cannot move.
There are days I pretty much live in the bathroom and he follows me in, crying himself as I cry. Days where he spends too much time in his playpen or the pram, simply because I cannot muster the energy to chase him, rescue him from mischief and play with him. Days when we go to his room and I leave him on the floor with his books and toys while I ‘hide’ (read = half sleep) in his teepee under a blanket. He does think the latter is great fun though, because he ends up climbing all over me and playing peekaboo, but the mum guilt is never ending. I find myself over the toilet praying to the universe, my Fairy Godmother, and/or God (not that I’m even slightly religious) to take away this horrible sickness. It’s wretched, and not fair on him.
At its worst, there’s nothing you can take and no food or drink that helps, and nothing stays down. It’s like being constantly hungover, hungry, over tired and with severe food poisoning, all at the same time. Your diet goes to shit, and exercise is a struggle. Everyday life and the tiniest of tasks become mammoth efforts. You lose touch with family and friends because you don’t have the energy for anything. You’re a cranky b*tch and feel absolutely useless, particularly to your child. The first trimester (and beyond, if your experience is anything like mine) is debilitating and downright sh*t.
I’m not sure what to liken this feeling to, in order to explain the extent of it to people. I’m sure there’s a serious illness out there that can compare. I used to think of morning sickness as a “Oh that’s no good, poor you” kind of thing, but never fully appreciated the gravity. For anyone suffering it, or anything like it, I have a huge amount of sympathy for you. To those who haven’t experienced morning sickness, this all might sound trivial and whiney. But hey, I’m a pregnant woman and it’s my right – right?!
So I’m really not sure if I can do it again – physically, but also mentally. Before we conceived Number 2, we thought we might want three children. Now that I’ve been so sick for months on end, we’re drastically re-thinking that. Yes it will depend a lot on what sex Number 2 is, but more than that I just don’t think we can go through this again.
On behalf of all pregnant sick women out there, I wish that the universe could just, for one hour, give our husbands, partners, childless bosses and even our children a small taste or appreciation of what it’s like. And please, Fairy Godmother, give us a break, a good 24-hour sleep and take this nasty nasty feeling away for good.