Once more, Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) raises its ugly, fat head in the media frenzy that surrounds the news of Kate Middleton’s second pregnancy. And once more, it is being played down as “morning sickness”, or if they are feeling generous “acute morning sickness”. Sadly, Kate Middleton has neither – she has a debilitating condition that never lets up, and quite honestly, makes morning sickness seem like a walk in the park.
Awareness for the condition is undoubtedly on this rise (yippee!), but there is a long, long way to go. Women with HG are ostracised, belittled and treated with an unrelenting condescending attitude wherever they turn. Try living your life for nine months with a constant hangover (and no, constant is not a hyperbole), only to be told that it is part and parcel of a normal pregnancy (erm…no. Morning sickness is normal, HG isn’t) or that you are making it up (because, of course women want to fake it, and spoil a time in their life that should be calm and beautiful).
Women who have suffered with HG have two things in common: we are angry, and defensive. Most go on to have PTSD (and no, again, I am not exaggerating) after being forced to live with a horrific condition for so long, one that leaves you weak and terrified for the health of your baby, but mainly because they are just not believed, and don’t get the emotional support they need. I had my second baby seven years ago, yet reading about HG reduces me to tears, every single time. It is something I am never going to get over. Had I received the support and care from the medical profession and family members, I am positive I would not feel this way. HG brings about isolation, and this horrible defensive attitude about the condition that will never fade. Not until the truth is put out there correctly, anyway.
So, next time you hear about Kate Middleton being ill – have kindness and compassion in your heart. She isn’t milking it, and neither is she lording it up because she is royalty. She may have people to help her, but that means nothing – she will still feel as poorly as the lady down the street. The same goes for your friend who you might think is being over-dramatic – she isn’t! She needs your help and support, and if you offer it, she won’t stop feeling sick, but she’ll come out the other side a lot more well-adjusted.
Spread the word, people. Please spread the word.