If you follow me on social media you may have seen my exciting news. I’m expecting our second child! We are really very pleased and feel incredibly thankful. We always hoped to have a second child, but I won’t lie, our experience of my pregnancy sickness with Leo did create a little edge of doubt about trying for another.
I suffered with severe sickness with Leo, I lost a lot of weight and I struggled to get medical support for many weeks. I was bedridden and off work for a long time, it wasn’t a pleasant time and one that left me with a lot of anxiety.
Unfortunately, this time round I’ve also suffered, but now I’m feeling stronger I want to share my experience, as for me when I was really at my worst, knowing that I wasn’t alone really did help. Additionally, I think pregnancy sickness can be trivialised and is not well understood, so if this might help spread awareness, that’s a good thing.
The physical aspects of my sickness are perhaps the easiest to explain and probably what you might imagine; 24/7 nausea and lots of vomiting, back/shoulder/stomach pain from the violent vomiting, dehydration, weight loss, battling to eat, and physically very weak. Honestly, the sickest I’ve ever felt and just no let up – utter shite. In the first few weeks there were many triggers that would have me in tears in the bathroom – hot food smells, my husband (yeah really), strong scents or perfume, too much noise, TV, or even reading.
Emotionally, this time has been really hard for me yes, but also for my family – particularly Adam (my husband) and Leo (my son). Personally, I’ve felt incredibly vulnerable and fearful – scared of being sick, tired, fed-up, frustrated, guilty and angry. We still struggled again to get appropriate medical support early on and had to talk to a number of doctors (with my sickness getting worse) until we got the right medication – this is incredibly challenging, contributed to the feelings listed above and frankly pisses me off. The impact mentally this time round of stopping my work, my business and doing things I enjoy, as well as being able to care for Leo have also been really tough – it all takes its toll as you slowly lose yourself and your grip on life. There were also limited hugs – see above comment about Adam.
But, this time round I think we were better prepared, we sought support early, we didn’t wait to 12 weeks to tell our families and our employers. Whilst lockdown didn’t make it easy for physical support, the emotional support from people was important (and the magic fairy who did the ironing for a while). We also increased Leo’s childcare with nursery and Adam took extra time off. I still tried all the usual things (except ginger, please don’t mention this to someone suffering from severe sickness) – pressure bands, hard-boiled sour sweets, a hypnosis script, all helped a little. I also had excellent support from the charity Pregnancy Sickness Support, who sent me up-to-date research links and guidelines to share with the GPs about medication and care pathways. They also have online forums for chatting, and a volunteer support system.
So, if you are suffering, please know there are people who do understand, you are not alone, it is truly awful but support is there for you – please reach out.