Dealing With Pregnancy When You Have a Fear of Vomitingby Emma Dowey
I’ve had emetophobia all my life. Well over thirty years now. If you’re asking “emeto what?!” then you’re not alone. Although this phobia is common, typically there isn’t a lot of awareness and how it can impact daily life. In a nutshell, emetophobia is a severe fear of vomiting. It isn’t as simple as “but no one likes being sick” – it’s a deep-rooted phobia which can wreak havoc on every aspect of life. So from eating, travelling, sleeping, going out, and even family planning.
Deciding to try for a baby was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I had no idea if I would be sick or not. Morning sickness can strike at any time and last from a few weeks to months. And many friends have had hyperemesis. It all sounded terrifying. The last thing I wanted was for this phobia to beat me. I wanted to have a child. It wasn’t going to rob me of that. So we decided to start trying and after a few months, I took a test and it was positive. I felt instantly sick to my stomach.
Pregnancy is hard enough without having a phobia of vomiting. There were all those worries you have when you fall pregnant, as well as my anxiety surrounding being sick. Emetophobia and pregnancy is not a good mix. But I managed to get through the nine months, and six years later I am sat here with baby number two. It’s been tough going at times but on the whole, I’m so bloody proud of what I’ve achieved. I love being a mum!
But how did I get through those crappy times without going crazy? What helped me get through the dark times? Here are a few tips and things that helped when I really thought I couldn’t do it any longer. It was a long nine months!
Eat Little and Often
Even if you can’t face a huge meal, try and snack on anything you like throughout the day. The last thing you need is hunger nausea.
I found ice lollies really handy during the first trimester. I felt yucky all day and didn’t fancy a lot of food. Ice lollies helped keep my fluids up and get a bit of sugar into me.
Friends and Family
Make sure you have people around you who understand and can be there for you when it gets tough.
Be honest with your midwife from the start. And have a chat with your doctor too. There are plenty of things they can do to help and being pregnant often means you are fast-tracked through to any mental health services they offer. You’re not being silly.
Don’t Search Everything
The internet can be great for research. It also has the downside in that we can over-search and read into things. Try not to look up everything to do with being sick and pregnancy. People have different experiences. Some people vomit all the way through, others don’t at all.
Try to Enjoy it
I found pregnancy really really hard. If you can, try and enjoy it a bit, especially if any nausea eases. Have a baby shower, enjoy a cream tea with your friends, and go have a browse of all those cute baby clothes you’ll want to buy.
Try and have things to do to stop your mind from wandering and what-iffing. Keeping busy really helped me through both pregnancies. Oh, and a lot of Netflix!
Have you heard of emetophobia? Do you know someone who has a vomit phobia? Share your comments with us below or on social media. We’d love to hear how other mums cope with emetophobia and pregnancy.