Can we all just agree that the term “Morning Sickness” was probably derived from someone who never actually went through it?
We’re not gonna call it that anymore, okay ladies… because that’s a cute name some man made up to make it sound cute when you’re pregnant… but it ‘ain’t cute. And it’s not just in the morning… it’s all day, all the time. You are just sick… all… the… time. Let’s stop brushing it off by calling it morning sickness. Let’s call it how it is: a whole body experience during pregnancy that causes vomiting and nausea.
Now, I’m no doctor, but I did Google where the term morning sickness came from and why it’s not called “your baby is going to suck the life out of you for 9+ months” sickness, and it technically makes sense. A woman’s blood sugar drops overnight while her stomach acid simultaneously rises due to the lack of food over a long span of time. When morning comes, she experiences nausea.
But let’s be real. If you’re just experiencing little nausea in an hour or so after waking up and before your breakfast… you’re one of the few lucky ones that fall into that definition.
When talking to some other mammas in my life and looking more and more into it, it turns out a lot of women actually experience terrible “morning sickness”. In an extreme case, it’s scientifically called “hyperemesis gravidarum” (which means “excessive vomiting during pregnancy”). It can get so bad you end up in the hospital for dehydration. But why is this phenomenon not talked about as commonly as morning sickness? Because no one wants to hear that… they want to hear the “cute” version. Is it because “all aspects of pregnancy are supposed to be beautiful?”
Well, reality check… it’s not! (Sorry unborn child… still, love you). Pregnancy is truly a gift, and I’m not complaining (yes I am)… but not everything about it is beautiful. Honestly, it can be pretty awful.
There are days you might not be able to hold anything down besides liquids, or you realize it’s impossible to get through a meal without taking a trip to the toilet, or worse… you can’t even throw up, so you’re nauseous 24/7. You’re craving that milkshake from Dairy Queen so badly you would give up your left arm for it, but the second you give in and take that sip, you suddenly are hurling yourself over a dirty public restroom. We’re taking “hangry” to the next level.
Or on the other end of the spectrum, you could be so repulsed by food – the smell, the taste… that you don’t want to put anything in your stomach. Having to force feed yourself something you know might be coming back up the pipeline in the next 10 minutes. You’re foggy and dehydrated, using all your energy trying to keep up a conversation. Growing a human is serious sh*t.
So how do we fix the stigma of morning sickness?
Here’s my take.
First, let’s all start treating it like an actual medical condition that is worthy of attention. Women are strong and can take on the world, but “morning sickness” can cause some serious mental and physical pain and it deserves treatment.
Second, support other women going through the tough times. Ask how they’re doing. Don’t just breeze by their words. If they say they’re experiencing morning sickness, make sure she’s doing okay and let her know she is not alone. We’re allowed to feel awful. We’re allowed to talk about how miserable we are. It’s all part of the process of motherhood.
So, after bonding over the reality that morning sickness is a lie constructed not to scare women away from procreating… us women need to make a pact. Let’s not call it morning sickness. Let’s just say we’re pretty f*ing miserable, but we’re grateful we’re able to make a life. We’re blessed to be given the gift of growing a baby in our tummy. Some women don’t have this privilege and though it drives us insane, we know how lucky we are. God knew only a woman could do this job… so let’s stand together and do the damn thing, no matter how many times the thought that our baby might actually be a demon trying to take over our bodies may creep into our minds.