Just this past week I learned that Jessica from The Leaky B@@b also suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum.
I had no idea!
And, in a fortuitous twist, she published a fantastic article that struck to the core of some of the emotions I’ve been feeling about my HG pregnancies: Tone, filters, and information.
It seems like every time I turn around, there is some article that gets published about how if you have a great diet during pregnancy or exercise during pregnancy, your baby will be healthier and have a number of advantages. Since good eating and exercise aren’t really options for those of us with HG, these articles usually cause me to roll my eyes, feel guilty, and sometimes even angry that I can’t have just a normal pregnancy like everyone else.
Oddly enough, I feel very strongly that we shouldn’t take on guilt simply because of our circumstances. We should be able to share information to mothers be it about childbirth interventions and risk management or breastfeeding. We should be able to discuss these issues openly and honestly without the knee-jerk defensive reaction.
And yet, when I see the information out there about pregnancy diet and exercise, I experience that same feeling of defensiveness that makes me crazy when talking about non-HG-related issues.
Do those articles set out to make me feel guilty that I barely eat during my pregnancies? No, they are just sharing information and sometimes aim to encourage and inspire moms. Do the moms celebrating their beautiful pregnancy experience do so to punch me in the gut and knock me down? I’m pretty sure they are just excited about their own experience. Does the fact that I have very little physical activity during the prenatal stage of my mothering make me a bad mom? I don’t think so but it doesn’t mean I don’t wonder from time to time or that it doesn’t hurt a little when I’m faced with the reality that it really isn’t a good thing and could be putting my children at risk. Blaming the information though doesn’t help me or make my reality better. Hiding it, or worse denying it, doesn’t help anyone else either.
We should still share information, we should still read information and we hopefully do this in a safe community where processing the information can happen through trusting and supportive dialogue. I hope that by keeping in mind the fact that we do not know everything there is to a person’s back story and why they make the choices they do we can remember to be more sensitive in how we share information. I hope that by keeping in mind the fact that we all bring our own baggage to any topic we can remember to try not to take information sharing as personal jabs. It is through these steps that we can support one another and make a difference for others.
Reading this article really gave me a sense of healing. It helped me build a bridge from one aspect of my life, writing, and personal views to another.
Thank you Jessica. You gave me a lot to think about.