Some time ago, I wrote a post about Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG). That post – which has reached and helped so many – was written before my current pregnancy. Here I sit, pregnant with our second child, and having gone through (and still going through some days) another HG pregnancy.
This time around I had a child to care for as well. He is a wonderful 2 year old and my little survivor of HG in two ways now (his own pregnancy, and this one). But there is another survivor in our home – my husband.
Partners of HG moms suffer as well. HG affects the entire household – how it runs, what foods can be cooked, what scents people can wear (think cologne or shampoo), the level of quiet needed, and the heavy load on the partner in all aspects.
This journey through HG has been hard on myself and my husband. It is hard on me for many reasons – the physical pain, the mental agony, the stress of knowing my baby is in danger from this illness. But my husband has had much of the same stress. He knows the risks – even more so this second time around – and he sees my pain. He was not able to stop my body from doing this, and he felt powerless.
My husband has this to say:
“I apparently always underestimated you before we dealt with HG together. You worked a full time job before becoming pregnant with our son. You did all the shopping, made our meals, washed our clothes, and took care of the house in general. Then the HG hit. It was like a different woman lived in our home. A lifeless, horribly sick, sad woman.
When you were pregnant the first time and had HG, it was so frustrating. No one had answers, and you kept getting worse. Resentment came up in me because I literally had no idea what was wrong with you. You went from normal and active to unable to work or even shower alone. I didn’t understand.
It was scary watching you literally shrivel up before my eyes, day by day. Still no one had answers. Everyone called it normal. Even after we found out what has happening, I wanted a quick fix. Once we found medication that worked for you, it was still a long recovery. I felt horrible because I wanted you back right now and it just wasn’t happening.
It didn’t really strain our marriage in the long run, but I think in the moment it did. It was hard to watch you that way. It was hard to have the stress on me due to you losing your job and being unable to care for the home or yourself. It was hard to accept that your pregnancy would not be normal. When you finally started to recover, towards the end of the pregnancy, it was so nice to have you back.
I think the second pregnancy [my current pregnancy] was worse than the first. We knew it was coming, but had built up hope that maybe you wouldn’t have HG this time. I was working a full time physical job, and knew I still had to come home and take care of the house and our son. I felt HORRIBLE for resenting you, and yet I couldn’t help it.
You didn’t get as bad this time, which was great. But this time looking at our future was harder. I realized that you and our family might not make it through more pregnancies if they were all going to be HG pregnancies. I realized that our dreams of a big family might not become reality because your body might not handle much more of this.
HG affects the whole family. The partner takes the load from the mother most of the time I think, since mom can’t even handle eating, much less housework or childcare. I felt like there was a good amount of information out there for women, but not for the partners. HG is pretty rare and I don’t think people acknowledge the toll it takes on everyone who is part of it.”
We have had many conversations about his feelings of resentment. Yes, it hurts sometimes to know he feels that. But I understand. No one signs up for HG – partners included. This is an illness that can destroy lives and does its best to do so in every way. I can’t imagine watching him be so sick and knowing I can do *nothing* to stop it. There is no cure, there is no scientific explanation. It is something that just “is.”
As we move into the happy time of this pregnancy with my HG backing off almost totally, we are both less stressed and things feel effortless again.
For those who know women who suffer from HG – remember the partners. Give them a hug when you come over to help. And please – come over to help! Running a load of laundry or doing dishes will be appreciated by not only the mother, but also the partner.
As you can see in this photo (from the end of my first pregnancy), life does regain balance and joy after HG. But the journey through it changes your perspective…and perhaps made us both more thankful for that lovely day at the park we were enjoying when this was taken.
For more information about Hyperemesis please check out HelpHer – a wonderful organization looking for reasons, and a cure.