lifestyle

An ode to all the women suffering in silence.

Women are just bloody amazing.

The positives of pregnancy can be listed very quickly: No periods. Feeling like you have a superpower – supersonic smell. And seats on trams (though this will likely not kick in until your stomach is protruding so far that commuters can no longer ignore the possibility you’ve just had one too many Nutella donuts).

The reality is something like this…

morning sickness

Thanks to Hollywood, I expected morning sickness to be one quick spew (so the audience knew you were pregnant, of course), followed by glowing skin and partners running to Coles at all hours to buy craving-compliant food items.

But, having just emerged from the horror that is the first trimester, I was completely knocked for six by the severity and relentlessness that is morning sickness.

I was even more surprised by the realisation that women willingly experience this again after knowing what they’re in for. I was completely amazed by how many women are suffering through it in silence (not wanting to spill the beans  before the end of the first tentative 12 weeks), just going about their lives – working, looking after kids, giving presentations, sitting through long meetings, presenting live TV – while dealing with the brutal symptoms of being pregnant.

When we broke the happy news to family, they eagerly asked, “Are you excited?” All I could muster was: “I just want to feel better.” For something allegedly ‘the most natural thing in the world’, why does it feel like something the size of a blueberry has hijacked my body and is slowly poisoning me?

And, unlike a regular illness, where you can openly talk about it and seek some compassion, during the first trimester – when symptoms of morning sickness are at an all-time high – convention is to keep the news to yourself due to the high risk of something going wrong.

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So, much like period pain, we women hide it from the world and our colleagues and keep trucking on, valiantly trying not to throw up at the scent of our colleague’s lunch.

But as I’m slowly exiting the fog that is all-consuming morning sickness (and having heard more and more tales of woe from women around me), I’m just left in complete awe of all those ladies silently going about their business while feeling like absolute crap.

For those who have never experienced morning sickness, I’m talking about…

Nausea:

Oh, the constant nausea. Like the worst hangover you’ve ever had, but it lasts around eight weeks – morning, noon and night. Doctors can prescribe drugs, but with thoughts of the Thalidomide disaster and way too much speculation on baby forums, being brave enough to take them is another matter.

Vomiting with little notice is another wonderful side-effect. My friend’s colleague just kept a bucket beside her in her office because it was easier that way.

morning sickness

Throwback to teen pimples:

Just when you thought you were done with big, pussy pimples, suddenly they’re everywhere. Look out for belters on the jawline and neck, as well as bacne and racne (OK, I made that word up, but even your chest is no longer safe).

Supersonic smell:

The initial feelings of being a superhero wear off quickly when you realise your power is used for bad far more than for good. Being able to smell everything intensely is not so great when you’re snuggled up on the couch and the dog Dutch ovens you, or you’re on a packed tram and all you can smell is a combination of salami, BO and lavender.

Bloating:

Like every other unpleasant symptom, blame it on the hormones. Bloating made me feel like I had a baby bump from the moment I discovered I was pregnant, leaving hardly any time to appreciate being able to fit into my regular pants.

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morning sickness

So sleepy:

Being pregnant makes you crave naps like nobody’s business and, with only a recommended limited caffeine intake, you’re on your own with the whole trying to stay awake thing.

Crazy dreams:

I had many vivid dreams about shooting people. Sometimes I was the shooter, sometimes my husband, sometimes my brother. I would wake up fretting about jail time and who would look after the kid. Or else it was dreams about being kicked in the stomach by a horse. Or trying to save a boat full of drowning people – a very stressful task.

All the wees:

So many toilet breaks… I’ve almost worn a track between my desk and the office loo.

morning sickness

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Not being able to drink:

Having to refrain from our favourite national pastime illustrates just how difficult coming up with social outings that don’t involve alcohol really is.

Moving around parties leaving a trail of full champagne glasses in your wake will inevitably lead to avoiding social situations altogether. Welcome to a life of Netflix and chill (where chill actually means curling up on the couch and try not to upchuck).

Food aversions:

Random meals you previously enjoyed now make you want to puke. Oh, the humanity.

morning sickness

I’m particularly in awe of those who go through morning sickness more than once – entering the temporary torture with their eyes wide open – especially the brave women who have suffered through some or all of the symptoms and then lost their child.

Any woman who chooses to go through this again is a goddamn marvel in my book.

From now on, I’ll be looking out for those women who look a little green around the gills, the ones who might be ducking out of the office regularly for appointments, the tired-looking ladies who traipse off to the toilet on the clock, and I’ll be cutting them some slack. Just in case.

Women are just bloody amazing.

Did you experience other symptoms?

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