I have talked before about my struggle in pregnancy with Hyperemesis gravidarum, a real, debilitating illness in pregnancy. It is an illness and unfortunately one that I have noticed can often cause a lot of people to cast judgements and assumptions about on social media.
Just today I saw a post on Facebook from one of the big baby gossip sites, the ones with the great click bait titles, like my struggle with "Princess Kate disease" or why i want to abort my child! (Both related to HG by the way)
The comments on the article were just as extreme, Comments if you have more than one child it can't really be HG, as I couldn't have more than one with HG, comments like no sympathy for Princess Kate she couldn't have had HG if she was out in public at twenty weeks, real people with HG don't do that. Other comments saying HG is just in your head, most people get morning sickness they need to get over it.
I wanted to scream at the computer, my frustration building, do you know what sometimes, people with HG do actually go out in public, do you know sometimes they have more than one child, do you know that it is not Morning sickness! It is a disease that affects 0.3–2.0% of pregnant women, so it is more common than you realise.
I suffered with HG for all four of my pregnancies, (crazy I know), I was sick with each pregnancy right up until I went into labour, often being sick 50 plus times a day. I tried all the drugs, the food tricks, ginger, fruit tingles, salty food, sweet food, no food, flat lemonade, and do you know what nothing really worked. I spent 34 odd weeks vomiting. Sounds awesome doesn't it. Do the maths that means i was sick over 6000 times over four pregnancies.
But like Princess Kate do you know what I still had to do things, I still had to get older kids to school, visit sick family members, go to appointments, had to look after toddlers, and to the outside to all these keyboard warriors they would say. It couldn't be that bad you did your grocery shopping last week, you couldn't have it that bad if you travelled to Melbourne to see your new niece. It just bad Morning Sickness.
What they don't see is the buckets living permanently in the car, the random stops at the side of the road, the fact you walk into a room and your first thing to do is find out where the toilets are, they don't see the times you spend hours sitting on the floor of the bathroom, to sick to move anywhere. They don't see the trips to emergency when you are so severely dehydrated you can't see straight.
They don't see the money spent trying to repair the damaged teeth, often too badly damaged from the acid that ate away all the enamel. They don't see the $1000 of dollars spent on drugs that don't stop you from vomiting food, but atleast let you keep down some fluids so you are not left sitting at ED with three other children in tow.
They don't see the scales dropping in pregnancy, but then the scales rebounding so drastically after each pregnancy as your body has spent the last seven-eight months in starvation mode.
All they see is a few words on the computer, a random picture on the internet, and someones else's assumption of what is going on.
What people who are suffering from HG need, what they want is understanding, not judgement. Everybody's pregnancy is different, everybody's HG is different, and we need to stop looking from the outside and making sweeping statements, and snap judgements.