pregnancy

'I have extreme morning sickness. Please stop telling me "this is what I wanted."'

Let’s start by reflecting on your last hangover

You can’t possibly be expected to work today! You’ve been on the lounge all day, intermittently snoozing and feeling sorry for yourself. You want to vomit but you’re not quite there and so it just lingers on. 

By around 5pm you entertain the idea of having some toast. You think it’s easing. Thank god. That was awful. You won't do that again for a while!

Side note: Check out our strangest pregnancy cravings. Post continues below.


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Cue my reality. 

I’m pregnant. I’ve also got a toddler. I have a full-time job and have bills to pay. 

For five months now I’ve had morning sickness. Nausea. All day. All night. It’s just not realistic to take five months of work and so I drag myself along, constantly feeling guilty for not being able to give my son, work, relationship, friends, family 100 per cent, or even 50.

85 percent of pregnant women experience morning sickness. 

85 percent! And yet, unlike when you’re hungover or sick in another way, society expects that you carry on in the same capacity that you did before, as if feeling like you want to vomit all day long is no biggie.

I’ve always wanted to be a mum and believe me when I say I'm grateful. I know how lucky I am to be pregnant. I’m well aware of the infertility struggles of others and have never for a second not acknowledged this blessing.

The glow of pregnancy though - it skipped me. Twice.

I yearned for it but it never came. The only glow I experienced was from grimacing from constant nausea, anxiety, heartburn and excruciating back pain.

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Any pregnancy symptom you could experience, I got them all. And it sucks.

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Feeling I could really do with a pick me up, I disclosed to my closest friends and family how awful I've been been feeling, only to be met with responses such as 'oh well, such and such has been trying to fall pregnant for years. I’m sure they’d kill to have morning sickness.' 

Insert guilt here. What an awful person I must be for not enjoying this. Shame on me. 

You’re also met with, ‘well, this was what you wanted.’ Yes. This was exactly what I wanted. To feel nauseous just by being awake and breathing. To feel like someone’s holding a lighter against the inside of my oesophagus. I love it.

I feel that people who makes comments like this are inferring that your decision to have a baby means you should shut up and enjoy every vomit and ailment availed to you. 

It has been proven that women who experience morning sickness also have higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. I wonder why. 

Maybe because rather than a sympathetic ear, we’re met with judgment and made to feel guilty for feelings we’re having. These feelings are wrong. I’m a bad person. I should just keep these feelings to myself. And so we retreat.

On top of being sick I now feel guilty, isolated and alone.

Finally, along comes a baby. A miracle. What’s there possibly to be sad about? Yet one in seven women in Australia suffer from post-natal depression.

Coincidence? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that during pregnancy women are shamed into silence, fearful of being perceived as ungrateful or abnormal for not enjoying every moment of pregnancy.

Even the medical community is doing nothing to counter society’s perceptions. 

A 2016 Scandinavian study found that health care providers tend to trivialise morning sickness and its impacts because it is so highly prevalent. I’m sorry, what?

Let me get this straight. You have, nearly an entire population feeling like a dog’s breakfast and because there are too many of us experiencing this it’s put in the too hard basket? 

Studies have been proven that morning sickness imposes significant adverse impacts on a pregnant woman’s quality of life and functioning. But don’t talk about it. We don’t want to ruin that pregnancy glow.

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Rather than throwing money at programs to deal with post-natal depression and anxiety, how about we support pregnant women before they even get to that point?

Society needs to recognise and acknowledge that just because a person isn’t enjoying some of the symptoms of pregnancy, that doesn’t mean that she’s not overjoyed and grateful to be pregnant.

As a society we need to allow pregnant women to have the space to freely and openly talk about their honest feelings without judgment. 

We don’t pass judgment on those who have debilitating illness. We treat them with love, care and compassion. Pregnant women are undergoing a life altering transformation to bring a miracle into the world and this should be celebrated and supported, not silenced.

Alyssa Kate is a mum of one (and a half) and an aspiring writer. She is passionate about being real and unfiltered in her perspectives and it’s this desire for authenticity that has found her finalising her journalism degree. When she’s not playing mum, you can find Alyssa baking cupcakes and devouring the Sunday paper. 

Feature Image: Supplied.

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