In celebration of my wonderful friend Molly surviving the most horrific nine months of pregnancy and finally being free from the placenta of doom . . . today I’m sharing my tips for helping out your friend when she’s suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.
Let’s be clear. Hyperemesis is not morning sickness. Hyperemesis is distressing, debilitating, and potentially life threatening.
Although Hyperemesis Gravidarum is thought to affect less than 2 per cent of pregnancies, I have definitely seen more than my fair share of friends suffer at the hands of this condition. They know first hand that Hyperemesis can lead to miscarriage, termination or premature birth. They know that Hyperemesis can rob them (and their family) of nine months of their lives. They know that Hyperemesis can rob them of the happiness their pregnancy should bring. They also know that their baby is worth it – every single one of them has gone on to fight their way through at least one subsequent pregnancy (and when I say fight, I mean fight).
1. Be Practical
When you are so sick you can’t get out of bed or think straight, keeping your house in order is not at the forefront of your mind. Do the washing up, take round some shopping, run the hoover around – do what you can around the house so that your friend and her partner just have one less thing to think about.
2. Don’t wear perfume
A heightened sense of smell comes as standard in pregnancy – but for suffers of Hyperemesis this kind of problem can be extreme. You don’t want to be the reason your friend is rushing for the kitchen sink for the eleventy billionth time that day. Swerve the fragrances.
3. Make plans
When you’re in the depths of Hyperemesis life can be fairly dark and depressing. Make plans so your friend has something to look forward to but accept that they may have to be cancelled at the last minute. If your friend already has other children, can you take them out somewhere to keep them entertained while Mum rests?
4. Be there
Just be there for her to moan when it’s hard and then there to celebrate the small wins. Help her to stay positive and keep her focused on the end goal. (Though bear in mind that sometimes the end goal can feel just too far away and actually all she wants to do is get through the day – in which case help her to be focused on that too!)
5. Don’t forget about her partner
He’s spinning a whole world of plates now and his own needs, both practical and emotional, may well get sidelined when everyone is worrying about your friend. Just check in with him and make sure he’s got someone to talk to if he wants to, that you will help out with stuff if he needs you to. It will matter so much to your friend to know you’re looking out for both of them.
6. Don’t offer her ginger biscuits
No matter what worked for you, your mate or your neighbour’s cat – the chances are someone has already mentioned it and she’s already tried it. HG needs medication, not ginger biscuits.
Have you suffered HG? Do you have any other suggestions on how to help out when your friend is suffering.
More information and support for those suffering from HG & their families can be found here: