Ah, pregnancy. Is there any experience more worthwhile of Googling endless symptoms, swinging rings over our bellies and remodeling our whole house in hopes of making it just right for the new arrival? Perhaps, not. But not every bit of those nine—really, ten—months are glorious.
Some of us—like me, ahem—are super lucky and struggle with morning sickness.
Full disclosure? After multiple miscarriages, I’ve made peace with the negative points of pregnancy. I get it. I’m still insanely blessed to be going through this experience. Every single dry heave is a reminder of that, right? Not quite.
Low and behold, here I am expecting baby number four, and truthfully, this may be the hardest pregnancy I’ve had yet. I was sick for nearly six months with my first, but she was my first; I knew no different. Plus, my only other responsibility was college three days a week. The memories of running to the bathroom before class still haven’t escaped me.
Number two came with no sickness at all—a welcomed experience. By the time I was working on number three, one and two were pre-teens. So, even though that growing boy left me sick for nearly another five or six months, I worked from home and was able to roll with the punches without too much hassle.
Here I am toting around number four and at about halfway through my pregnancy, I’ve only recently been able to step away from hugging the porcelain throne. Here’s how I’ve coped while working with two homeschooled, hormonal teens, a curious toddler, and no appetite.
20 Bye Bye, Paleo Perfection
Sigh. I had it all planned out. Yes, even having gone through this several times before, I thought somehow if I started out on the perfect nutritional foot, I would be exempt from morning sickness. Ha! I made it to roughly 6-7 weeks eating amazing things like eggs, wild salmon, bone broth and more.
Then, suddenly, I could eat nothing. I couldn’t even tolerate the smell of food.
Which was no easy feat since anything fresh repulsed me. So, I struggled for a bit, finally, let go of the guilt and ate whatever I could keep down. I still lost 16 pounds doing that—eek!
19 It’s All In What You Eat...or Drink
That being said, I did try—desperately—to hold on to any semblance of nutrition that I could. By no means was I being a good girl. Toaster Strudels and nuts were all I ate some days. But a few things did help while others made it worse. Many veteran moms know that sometimes, those vitamins make us sick.
While I chose to opt out of standard prenatal vitamins this time around—instead supplementing individual things like cod liver oil for DHA and raw bee pollen for folate—even those things were triggering my gag reflex and upsetting my stomach.
So, I ditched them and trusted my body to get baby what he or she would need. Pink Stork Tea was one thing that did seem to help my nausea at times. I wish I had found it sooner.
18 Girl, You Need A Breath Mint
Essential oils seem to be all the rage, but they’re still a bandwagon I haven’t fully jumped on. Nonetheless, peppermint is one of those staple EO’s pretty much any “crunchy mom” like myself has on hand. I did find sniffing this at times would help me a little. But it was fleeting. It’s not safe to diffuse peppermint around little ones, and my toddler is attached to my hip.
So, I went for the next best thing: Altoids. Their flavor lasted much longer, helping to soothe my nausea much longer, too.
Bonus: They’re pretty much the only mainstream, easy to find mint out there that doesn’t have aspartame or other artificial sweeteners in it that have been linked to birth defects.
17 The Takeout Budget
As though processed junk food straight from the store shelves wasn’t enough, let’s add insult to injury with takeout. No, seriously. There are likely healthier options that are at least being freshly cooked for you by a restaurant than some of the stuff you’ll find pre-packaged at the supermarket.
So, if your budget allows, indulge.
I did; no regrets. The biggest perk for me was that I could accommodate my finicky appetite easily, as what sounded good and what didn’t would change hourly. On top of that, I didn’t have to smell the food being prepared. Seems like a win-win.
16 Avoiding Trigger Foods
Ummm, trigger foods come with a trigger warning, because I’m nice like that. So, if you’re currently suffering and just about anything makes you run for the bathroom, keep scrolling. While red dye is usually something I avoid in my diet, it’s not something I’ve ever reacted to when I did have it.
Until I had some cherry Italian ice one night.
Let’s just say I was in the bathroom for hours in pain and thought I had internal bleeding at the sight of it. Fortunately, my daughter reminded me (mom brain=I forget everything) of what I’d eaten earlier that day, and I relaxed.
Then it happened again two more times when I had red or blue dyes. So, those are on the permanent no-no list, whether I’m puking or not.
15 Taking A Social Media Hiatus
Hey, this was a pretty big perk. I’m not a huge fan of social media, for reasons I won’t go into now. But pregnancy sort of forced me to find better things to do with my time.
And trust me, there are so many better things. I couldn’t handle Pinterest or Facebook—and goodness no, not Instagram.
The food pics! The food ads! Nixing this from my daily to-do list was so easy, and it freed up so much time. I think I forgot how much I love spending my time with intention. Even though I’m feeling better now, I won’t be going back to those ways.
14 No Doubt, Don’t Speak
My other half wasn’t particularly thrilled with me being sick for months on end. The brunt of the household chores definitely fell on him more than he was used to after a long day at the office. Add to that the many times he asked me a question and I just looked at him and didn’t answer.
My kids weren’t thrilled about this either. Mom’s gone mute. This will only resonate with those of you who are out there clutching the toilet as you read this in hopes that you get off this merry-go-round soon. Sometimes, we really can’t fathom the idea of opening our mouths and answering a question.
We are that sick. Opening our mouth is like opening the floodgate. A closed mouth is the only thing keeping our lunch down. Let us be.
13 This Is No Cruise Through Paradise
Alright, this isn’t so weird. Because it’s common. A lot of moms-to-be use Sea-Bands to ward off morning sickness. This is pretty much the only remedy I am still forcing myself to employ at about 20 weeks along.
I have no idea whether the claims of acupressure are working for me, or if it’s just placebo effect.
But I’m inclined to think it’s the former because the placebo effect wasn’t working for any other standard morning sickness remedy I tried, no matter how much I wanted it to. I was wearing two of them 24/7.
I’m down to one, but if I take it off, I can’t eat as well that day and start feeling faint and icky. So, it’s a permanent fixture on my arm and may or may not be giving me some kind of permanent bruise, too.
12 Take It Outside
This pregnancy has completely turned me into someone else. Normally, I am known to long for Autumn and Winter. I love cooler weather. I love knee high boots, sweaters, pumpkins, hot chocolate, and twinkling lights. But grilling has been my saving grace during this pregnancy.
It’s summertime here. So, we’re making as much use of our backyard as we can. Grilling means I don’t have to smell food cooking in my house all evening, which really tips the scales for me.
With a side burner—and a portable camping stove I even pulled out one night—there’s no reason my house needs to smell like food now. What I discovered… I can eat so much more food if I don’t smell it first.
11 Taking Time For Me
I hated the thought of going anywhere, but when we did visit friends or family, I found myself feeling okay enough not to throw up the whole time.
What gives? Then I stumbled upon a random blog one day in which the women mentioned she thought reveling in her sickness—she had hyperemesis gravidarum—only made it worse. This resonated with me because I ascribed to the same principles in my past when overcoming issues of depression.
So, I started aiming to do the opposite. Pretty much, the fake it till you make it protocol. I backed off on my work schedule, took naps when needed, and stopped stressing over caring for everyone else to focus on baby and I. It helped!
10 Wait For The Baby Shower
Our little life here is hectic. Between both parents working, two homeschooled teens, and battling the willpower of a toddler all day long, it doesn’t leave much time for anything else. Long, hot baths are a figment of my imagination most days. So, showers it is.
The trouble with that being, they seemed to take entirely too much from me when I was sick. The combination of steam and heat, mixed with standing and lathering my lion’s mane just wasn’t doing it for me. I’d get out of the shower sick every time. So… Epsom salt baths it was.
9 Life By Candlelight
As I said, smells have been the end of me this pregnancy. Even now, I’m not too keen on the smell of meat—an aversion I had my entire pregnancy with baby number three and even a few months into the postpartum stage of life.
So, I’ve pretty much been keeping Yankee Candle in business, as well as diffusing every pleasant-smelling, toddler- and pregnancy-safe oil I can.
When even those get to me, I have found a strange fondness for the smell of oil lamps. No, I’m not huffing them or anything, but crocheting those baby booties by the light of it has become my new 21st-century hobby.
8 Adventures Of A Homebody
One of the biggest perks of this pregnancy has been that we are planning a home birth. I cannot convey the elation I have over not having to load up my rambunctious toddler and travel to my midwife each month.
Instead, she comes to me! It’s made the entire process so much easier, and on those earlier days where I couldn’t even stomach being driven somewhere because a car drive was like the Tilt A Whirl, this experience was truly a saving grace. I can’t see myself doing it any other way now, and I wonder how much time I’ve wasted in the past going to my midwife or doctor when I didn’t have to.
7 When We Must Walk About, Travel On Foot
As I just mentioned, car rides seriously weren’t for me until about 15 or 16 weeks along. I recall not-so-fondly the same experience when I was expecting baby number three, however, it was only long trips that did me in and gave me motion sickness.
This time around, I couldn’t even get two miles down the road without scanning the street for an ideal place to pull over and not end up on the 5 o’clock news in the hospital. So, I started walking wherever I could.
Trips to the park with the kids or the farmer's market were far more manageable this way—that is—assuming I could stomach the sight of food, which was rare.
6 Practice Breathing Down And Out—Labor Is Coming After All
It sounds like a joke, but I kid you not. I have found that shortness of breath is almost like an accompaniment to feeling sick when I’m pregnant.
So, I tried to take the lemons life was throwing at me and used those experiences of never-ending nausea and the sensation that I couldn’t inhale enough air to practice for labor.
Having done such naturally a few times now, I am all too aware of how important it is to stay in the zone of relaxation during birth. Paying attention to each breath that comes in and goes out always helps.
Well, I found it helps nausea stay at bay, too. It wasn’t a cure-all, but it did sometimes help me keep my breakfast down.
5 Blowing In The Wind
Grab your fan. It was motion sickness in the car that helped me figure this one out. I realized quickly that—for whatever reason I’ve been too lazy and uninterested to research—a steady stream of air in one’s face when feeling ill can really suppress the urge to throw up.
Maybe it makes me feel like I’m able to get those deeper breaths in without inhaling huge breaths because opening my mouth that wide usually just makes everything want to come out the other way at times like these. Nonetheless, it helps and there was a lot of fanning going on around this house because of it.
4 Focus Somewhere Else Already
Remember that article I mentioned about women focusing too much on their sickness and causing their HG symptoms? As I said before, it really hit home for me. Advising women on so many of our health issues—inclusive of and apart from pregnancy and birth—over the years, I’ve seen similar circumstances prove themselves to be true.
So, I set out to not only do more for myself and adjust my life for this pregnancy but to also focus less on sickness and more on health. Lamenting over how many times I was throwing up wasn’t helpful.
Focusing on how many glasses of water I could get down each day and the healthiest choices I could make were what made me feel I was doing my best, and that relieved a lot of guilt.
3 Which Brings Us To Happiness
Part of that drive to focus on the positive—even at the most difficult of times—also pushed me to focus on the good things in my life that weren’t pregnancy-related.
You might never meet anyone more obsessed with pregnancy and birth than I am, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing going on in my orbit.
It’s a lot of stress to make the pregnancy the source of all happiness during a time which the pregnancy is at its worst. I decided to push pause on that and would immerse myself in the pregnancy a bit later when it had more to offer that would fulfill me versus emotionally drain me.
2 Don’t Mess With Hyperemesis
This pregnancy was the first time I’ve ever really thought about Hyperemesis Gravidarum. It wasn’t all that common to hear about HG back when I had my first two kids, but not surprisingly, as soon as they came up with mainstream medications for it, we hear about it everywhere.
Nonetheless, I was concerned enough this time that I may have had it—even suspected I had with my first unknowingly. I was committed to remaining meds-free and on my natural path, despite the weight loss and grief of this all-consuming sickness, as long as baby and I stayed healthy.
Thankfully, we have. If you haven’t, you’ll get no shame from this uber-crunchy mom. Do what you need to do to get that baby Earthside and healthy.
1 This Too Shall Pass
It might take nine months for some of us. Sometimes, morning sickness sticks around all pregnancy long. Fortunately, this isn’t common, but that doesn’t mean the women who are going through such aren’t struggling and desperate for it to end. My heart goes out to those ladies.
In the meantime, I want to remind moms-to-be that many of us struggle with pregnancy. It’s not always morning sickness or HG. Sometimes, it’s a perpetual fear of loss because of past losses that have traumatized us.
Other times, it’s other medical conditions or knowing the baby is going to be born with complications. You’re not alone, even if your personal struggle isn’t a common one. These nine months will come to an end, and we get quite the reward when they do.
Remember, this too shall pass... and most of us will miss it!
Reference: This one mom's experience.