Morning Sickness Misery
It has been a brutal pregnancy so far. 17 weeks in and I’m finally starting to experience some relief from my morning sickness misery (aka 24/7 sickness). Why it’s called “morning sickness” makes no sense. In fact, I often felt the worst in the evenings and in the middle of the nights.
In the movies, the woman who runs to the bathroom to vomit once at the start of the day is not at all a realistic depiction of morning sickness. At least not in my case, or in the case of many other women. But, who wants to watch a sad movie of a sick, grungy, depleted woman moping about all day and night for weeks or months on end? It would just be a really bad movie.
When Does Morning Sickness Start and End? My Morning Sickness Timeline
In my case (keep in mind, everyone is different), morning sickness kicked in around 6 weeks pregnant. It got worse between 8 and 10 weeks, then I had a few days of some relief, and then it came back with a vengeance a week later at 11 weeks. And from 11-17 weeks, it was off and on and ranged from only slightly horrible to horribly-horrible. I have never felt so incapacitated for such a long period of time in my life.
So now at 17 weeks, I still feel like garbage a lot of days and am constantly exhausted to the core, but that feeling of having an unrelenting hang-over combined with the flu has certainly eased up. And I am functional most days, while just operating at lower speeds and with a lot of breaks.
Update: Finally at 20 weeks pregnant, I am happy to report that my morning sickness is gone! I still don’t feel fantastic by any means (a whole other set of symptoms kicks in once that bump starts expanding), but life feels manageable and I feel like I can do things again!
Throughout my first trimester and a good chunk of my second trimester, I was really struggling to get through the days. I felt like I was always just waiting for the days to pass, so that there was some hope that the next would be better.
I googled “when does morning sickness end” at least a hundred times always hoping for some magical and definitive answer. And some days, I would feel better and think, “Thank god, I’m finally turning a corner!”. But then wham, I’d be knocked back down the next day and could barely stand to be in my body.
What Does Morning Sickness Misery Feel Like?
The ongoing headaches, nausea, digestive issues, and general feelings of misery and exhaustion are enough to drive a person mad (not to mention the billions of trips to the bathroom to pee day and night to really just make the whole experience beautiful).
And I truly don’t even know how to describe my morning sickness, because it was unlike any other sickness I’ve ever felt. The best I can do is say that it was like a combination of feeling car sick, having the flu along with a hangover, and feeling like an alien had taken over my body- all combined to form its own special kind of torture. I know it sounds dramatic, but it was!
Emotional Effects of Morning Sickness
I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy here and only focus on the bad, but let’s be real, morning sickness can really take over a life – not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.
For me, it was the prolonged nature of it that really ate at my emotional wellbeing. Constantly feeling horrible is just plain old demoralizing. I also felt like I wasn’t being a good parent to my 2 year old son, because I simply had no energy to play with him. And I felt incredibly guilty that my husband was picking up all my slack, even though he never did or said anything to make me feel that way.
I discuss being a stay at home mom and overcoming some of its challenges in Fighting Stay at Home Mom Shame. The guilt and shame that can creep up on many stay at home moms can be compounded by those feelings of guilt that invade due to morning sickness and vice versa. So it is important to address those feelings and remind ourselves that we are doing just fine when it comes to being valuable human beings. And that’s not just for stay at home moms, but for all moms.
So while yes, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have a baby, no, I hated the experience of morning sickness and there’s just no way to sugarcoat that. Even having had a miscarriage and 2 chemical pregnancies prior to this pregnancy, that doesn’t change the fact that a healthy pregnancy is certainly not all sunshine and rainbows.
So to anyone who hates being pregnant, you are not alone.
And to all those women who experience zero morning sickness and try to explain why they have not had any, no, advice to drink more water and eat more nutritious meals is not helpful. While those are certainly important elements to staying healthy, I truly do not believe that they are enough to battle raging hormones and whatever other evil forces are at work that make some women feel like death during early pregnancy.
Is Morning Sickness Different for Everyone?
Every pregnancy can be very different. Not only different from woman to woman, but even very different from one pregnancy to the next, for the same woman. For example, my first pregnancy was a breeze compared to my current pregnancy. I had morning sickness and fatigue early on with my first, but nothing like what I have experienced these past few months with this pregnancy.
I also want to acknowledge, that morning sickness is more than just vomiting. I haven’t vomited once during either of my pregnancies, but I assure you, I have felt completely incapacitated and miserable.
Women who are struggling with morning sickness and pregnancy need support and empathy. They don’t need comparison and invalidating comments about whether or not their morning sickness is legitimate, based on an incomplete or inaccurate understanding of morning sickness.
No One Really Seems to Know What Causes Morning Sickness
And this leads me to think about how our society in general really doesn’t understand morning sickness. We literally haven’t figured out why exactly morning sickness happens, despite the fact that so many women experience it and it is a fundamental process that perpetuates the human race.
There are theories, but apparently no one can say for sure why morning sickness occurs for some women. For example, Mayo Clinic explains that often times the severity of morning sickness is associated with higher HCG levels in pregnant women (a hormone your body makes when you are pregnant), but not always. And that many women with healthy pregnancies may experience no morning sickness at all.
Resources to Help Women Struggling with Morning Sickness?
I imagine this lack of understanding is why there aren’t more resources and support for women experiencing morning sickness. It’s just accepted as something that women have to go through and deal with on their own, and nobody really understands it.
For example, how many work places have policies in place to support pregnant women with morning sickness? And what kinds of resources are there for stay at home moms who have morning sickness and are trying to take care of other children?
There are of course plenty of articles and brochures you can find online about morning sickness remedies and those can be helpful, but when it comes down to it, resources in terms of direct help are pretty limited outside of your immediate family/inner circle and medical provider. And if you happen to be someone who doesn’t have much support at home or in your surrounding community, it can be hard!
Online resources with information and tips on managing morning sickness;
I will say that for myself, there is no way I would have been able to take care of my 2 year old these past few weeks if my husband had not been playing a huge role. By some wild stroke of luck, the worst of my morning sickness fell almost exactly between the dates my husband was in between jobs and we were moving to a new state.
My husband became our toddler’s main play buddy and took care of essentially all his basic care needs (brushing teeth, preparing meals, etc). I’m sure many stay at home moms who experience prolonged morning sickness do not have another adult taking care of their children all day.
And how they survive, I do not know. I also do not know how women who are working at paid jobs throughout their pregnancies manage. So kudos and hugs to all who are getting through the treacherous days of morning sickness.
Morning Sickness WILL End
So for all the women who are experiencing debilitating morning sickness, all I can say is that you are not alone and that it will eventually pass (even if it’s not until the end of a pregnancy). When it’s happening, it feels like years have passed and that you can’t possibly stand one minute more of it. But there is an end in sight and hopefully the horror of those first few months of pregnancy will be forgotten one day!
If in the throes of morning sickness and you need to vent or have a space to be heard, please leave a comment below!