Hide the nausea

Until your twelve week scan you really don’t want to tell anyone that you are pregnant, just in case. Which for many women means spending time feeling, and being, sick and having to hide that fact from others.

Morning sickness is another pregnancy myth. If only it was just the morning, ah, how much easier it would be. I suppose ‘all-day sickness’, or ‘constant energy sapping sickness’ weren’t quite as catchy. This is one of those open secrets that you apparently only learn about once you are pregnant. Contrary to how it can feel, this is not a sinister plot to hide the reality of pregnancy from women until they get there (well, apart from movie and TV depictions, but more on that another time). Rather, I think when not pregnant you have a special selective hearing when pregnancy is discussed. This must be a biological safety mechanism – well that’s my theory anyway.

The toilet is your friend

The toilet is your friend

So yes, nausea. I have tales from other ladies of “hobo sickness”. Running out of a public library because the toilets were occupied to be sick in the bin outside the front of the building. Only after retching into the bin, wiping sick from hair and face, was the disgusted homeless person hitherto enjoying a drink on the park bench, spotted. As she said “ah the indignity of it all. And I had to walk around for the rest of the day quite positive that I smelt of vomit.”

I’m not sure if I was lucky or unlucky that my nausea manifested itself as a constant sense of impending need to be sick, yet never was I sick. I realised quite early on that eating potato helped. I ate a lot of potato. I like potato, but even by my potato liking standards this was excessive. If I ate potato, at least once every four hours or so, the nausea was beaten back. The potato legacy lives on – as my present figure can attest. Still, at least I got control of the nausea.

The other myth here of course is that nausea is for the first trimester only. For most women yes, but not all. Some very unlucky ladies find themselves suffering this way for the entirety of their pregnancy. If this suffering is acute enough they may be offered drugs to help ease the sickness. This was not offered freely and quickly to the women that I know. So if this is you, demand it.

Want to know why you feel sick? Well no-one really knows. Theory is that it is thanks to pesky old hormones – human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) and oestrogen – with the thyroid hormone thyroxine possibly also playing a part. Feel better knowing that? No. Well hopefully you won’t be unlucky and the nausea will fade. Until then, you have my every sympathy.

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So what is wtFitaa about?

There is a myth that pregnancy is enjoyable, empowering, womanly. Certainly for some women it seems to be, but not all. If you are one of the many women for whom pregnancy feels like a fog of awfulness, a quick descent into indignity or just an utter drag, well this is intended as your companion.

Pregnant and not loving it

Pregnant and not loving it

This is my second pregnancy. The first was, to put it politely, no fun at all. the first three months and a bit were spent in a state of constant nausea, trans-atlantic flight-esque exhaustion and bloated windiness. The next three were a bit better, at least I could tell people I felt awful. The final three a waiting game, that just like Christmas, felt long in anticipation and then suddenly upon you. Although, whilst the result was the greatest gift ever, the delivery was pure agony.

And here I am again. Pregnant and not loving it. So, armed with a sense of humour, some biological facts and a desire to share an honest account with other women I am writing this. I will share stories of my own experiences, and those of other women. I will be honest. The gripes will be large and small. But if this is your first pregnancy and you’re beginning to despair – don’t. There is an end to it all. It feels like forever but really isn’t. And yes, you can find it within yourself to do it all again.

(NB: if biology truly provided a choice then it would definitely be my partners turn, but more on that later.)