Thursday, June 12, 2014

what not to say to a sick pregnant person: a PSA

The magic of the miracle that lies within pregnancy never wears off or grows dull.  Never.  Not with the throwing up, not with the stomach aches or the body aches, or the carpal tunnel that seems to accompany my pregnancies.

There is this sad belief that if truthful complaints are expressed, then that diminishes your gratefulness.  Let me be honest - I don't like incessant complaining.  I teach my kids that it's not a fun trait to be around, and really there is no point.  But pregnancy is no picnic, some people have it worse than others, and when people ask you how you are feeling, I am under the impression that they really want to know how you are actually feeling.

But in response, they have all the solutions.

Here's the thing:  I have never ever known sickness until this pregnancy.  It started at 4 weeks, it is still here at 20 weeks.  It is not the gentle symptom under the title of morning sickness.  It's a debilitating sickness that has left me in bed for so much of the last four months, it is actually almost unbelievable.  The tears that have come from inadequate feelings as a wife and a mom and the sheer imagery of having to do this for ___ more days.

I have had my fair share of comments that likely stem from genuine care, but are generally delivered in poor taste.

Here are some of my favorites. Take notes:

Have you tried saltines in the morning?

Saltines mixed with stomach acid first thing in the morning would be akin to eating cardboard and drinking a beer, knowing good and well it was all coming back up.  No thank you.  I'm putting ginger in this category too.  I wish a little ginger was the ticket to feeling better, but those precious little ginger lollipops are a joke in the face of persistent nausea.

It's all in your head; mind over matter.

If only I had worked some meditation and yoga into the hours I spent heaving over the toilet, I would have felt fine for these last many months.  If only I had known.


No it isn't mind over matter or the state of your mind.

Well, at least you aren't gaining weight!

I just can't even with this.  Would you ever say this to a person with bulimia?  The only time in your adult life you are supposed to be gaining pounds to ensure the baby you are carrying is receiving the nutrients and proper care.  It's already grouped in with the other inadequate feelings that lie in the very nature of being a mom.  Wondering if your baby is getting enough is a miserable feeling - I'd put on 60 pounds again rather than worry about that and feel this way.

You should be grateful.

Let me just be clear: the feelings about nausea/throwing up and the feelings about my growing child are completely separate.  I am thankful beyond what words can illustrate for this miracle.  I have lost a child - there is not a single second of this that I have ever taken for granted or wished away.  Wishing the vomiting away and counting down the days until I meet my child are in fact not discounting my gratitude.

Have you tried any medicine?

This almost doesn't deserve an answer, but the long and short story is: yes.  Medicine isn't a fix-all, in case that wasn't obvious.

It has to be over soon!

I heard this before first trimester was over, and just about every week since then.  Believe me, the hope is in my own head (SEE! Mind over matter.) and here we are.  So maybe it will be, and maybe it won't be, but the fact is: no one knows.  So that comment is just as frustrating as the ones crawling through my head.

You are welcome.

Sick Pregnant Women Everywhere

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