• I'm Not At Home Right Now
  • Author avatar
    Amelia Slocombe
  • babieslifemorning sicknessmotherhoodpregnancy

I'm Not At Home Right Now

I am 8 weeks pregnantI am sat in my house, in my spare room, hiding from the window cleaner.

Why? I have nothing against the window cleaner. He is not a knife-wielding homicidal maniac. In fact he is a perfectly pleasant chap. The reason is entirely of my own doing.

I am 8 weeks pregnant. Something you shouldn't even say out loud, let alone in a blog post.

But I am 8 weeks pregnant. And I am hiding from the window cleaner because I don't want to talk to, or see, anyone ever again.

In the space of two weeks, I have gone from excitedly discovering I was pregnant, to being agorophobic, sad and, dare I say it, ever so slightly depressed. Because I am suffering from very severe morning sickness, to the extent that I can't even bring myself to get out of bed.

Despite a large proportion of women suffering from extreme nausea and vomiting (or NVP) it is only since the Duchess of Cambridge made it famous that it (along with Hobbs) has become anywhere close to being socially acceptable. Prior to Ms Middleton, women were expected simply to soldier on; suck it up. Or pretend that something else was actually wrong with them.

But try telling that to a woman who can't even bring herself to get out of bed for fear of vomiting all over herself. Who can't even open the dishwasher or spray her own perfume without gagging. Who can't bear to look at herself in the mirror. Who can't even stomach a small glass of water without feeling like death by dehydration would be altogether preferable.

Very few people understand the emotional trauma that severe NVP brings with it. At a time when you are supposed to be delighted, excited and hopeful, all you can feel is despair. And for that reason, you also feel an overwhelming sense of guilt - because instead of bonding, you start to dislike the very child you went to such pains to create, almost hoping (although never admitting) that it will disappear, so desperately do you want to feel normal again. You start to question whether you really wanted a baby in the first place, imagining how you would cope if these feelings last a full 9 months. And, if you have another child to look after, you feel immense remorse that you are suddenly neglecting them - having transformed (seemingly overnight) from a responsible and capable human being, to a helpless, exhausted and teary wreck.

But the worse thing, above all, is the loneliness. Because the severest form of NVP comes at a time when you aren't even supposed to let others know you are pregnant. So you tell a select few people and let your other friends and family conclude that you are rude and antisocial, refusing to return their texts, calls and emails. You may have to tell your boss, but however sympathetic he or she is, you can't help but worry that you've ruined your chances of promotion or a future pay rise, that you've lost all respect, that every positive thing you have ever achieved professionally will be overshadowed by a condition that many think should is curable with a ginger biscuit and an acupressure wristband.

But my advice to anyone suffering is this: you have to tell yourself that it won't last forever; that even if every day feels like a lifetime, there will be a point when you simply don't feel as bad. And secondly, that help is out there. True, many friends including fellow mums won't understand the severity of the condition, but some will. And if not, there are plenty of forums out there with people on them who understand exactly what you are going through. And sometimes the sympathy of a stranger is as comforting as that of anyone you know. And don't forget your GP. Because there are medications out there that can help you. And GPs also have an unbelievable superpower: the ability to sign you off work with the stroke of a pen.

But finally, don't feel that the person you've become is a permanent fixture in you and your partner's life. You are not a sad, lonely individual. You are not a manic depressive. You are not suddenly suicidal. Everything you feel is just down to hormones. You will get better.

And above all, don't feel bad about hiding from the window cleaner. I promise he won't take it personally.
  • Author avatar
    Amelia Slocombe
  • babieslifemorning sicknessmotherhoodpregnancy

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