10 Ways Every Grown-Ass Man Can Help Their Partner When She Has Hyperemesis Gravidarum
I knew I was pregnant for the firs time not because I peed on a stick, but because I couldn't stomach the smell of a bagel. I chocked my nausea up to the stereotypical morning sickness, but once that nausea hijacked my entire life, I realized that I had something much more severe. I had hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), otherwise known as hell on earth. Thankfully, I have an amazing partner who stepped up and took care of me. Though watching someone suffer through HG can make a partner feel helpless, there are ways grown-ass men can help their partner who has hyperemesis gravidarum.
Unless you've struggled with hyperemesis gravidarum yourself, or you're a physician, you've probably never even heard of it. Well, Kate Middleton was hospitalized with it, so she shed some light on the subject. I was pregnant at that same time as the Duchess of Cambridge, and when the news broke that she had been hospitalized, I began to question my own condition. I wasn't sure how much vomiting was too much vomiting during pregnancy, and just assumed that I had a bad case of morning sickness that would subside once I was out of my first trimester. The nausea and vomiting never stopped though, and before I even reached my second trimester, I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum.
Unfortunately (and like many women) I had to continue to work through my pregnancy and HG and the never-ending vomit and nausea, and it took a major toll on my attitude and energy and health and, well, everything. My partner noticed the change in my demeanor, but instead of watching on the sidelines as my sunny disposition deflated, he stepped up because that's what a grown-ass man does. Just because you can't physically experience something as debilitating as HG, doesn't mean you can't help. So, if you're in the same nauseating boat that I was, and your partner doesn't know how support you, try showing them the following list:
He Doesn't Act Like He's Grossed Out When His Partner Gets Sick
I get that watching someone lose their lunch isn't ideal, but it's a lot easier to be the person holding someone's hair back than it is to be the person with their head in the toilet. My husband is what I like to call a "sympathetic vomiter," but when I was constantly sick during my pregnancy, he did his best to contain his own gag reflex. Trust me, telling someone suffering from HG that you think you're going to be sick while they're throwing up is going to make them want to direct their vomit toward your face.
He Cooks Dinner
I'm still not sure how I managed to work a full time job when I had HG, because it felt like throwing up was my full time job. I made it through, but when I got home from work, I was useless. It took every bit of strength I had to even get in bed, so cooking supper wasn't an option. I was fine with ordering takeout (it's not like I could eat anything anyway), but my husband insisted on cooking in an attempt to make me food that wouldn't make me throw up. Sometimes, when I actually did keep a few bites down, I was so thankful that he took the time to prepare a meal completely based on my very limited palate.
He Takes Care Of Household Chores
As I said, living through hyperemesis gravidarum is a full time job, so any works outside of throwing up all day is pretty much off of the table. I was too miserable to even care if our laundry was done or if the dishes were washed or the yard was cut, much less consider actually doing any of those things. My partner and I split household chores, but when I was sick, he took over everything.
He Runs Errands
I had a barf bucket in my car for my commute to and from work. Riding in a car for any reason, other than to collect my paycheck, was out of the question, so all of our errands were up to my partner. Going grocery shopping, so I wouldn't have to, might not sound like a big deal, but when I couldn't walk across a room without feeling like I was sea sick, something as simple as a grocery run was nothing short of heroic.
The Keeps The House Stocked With Things That Won't Induce Vomiting
For me, Sprite, Gold Fish crackers, and bananas were about the only thing that I could stomach. Not exactly a healthy diet, I know, but my husband made sure that our house was stocked full of both, so that I wouldn't starve. He even had snack stations set up throughout the house, so that I wouldn't have to get up to find them myself. I had a bowl in the living room, bathroom, and on my bedside table filled with Gold Fish. It looked like a toddler lived at our house, but I didn't even care.
He Helps Make His Partner Feel Comfortable
I needed, like, eight pillows surrounding me in order to feel comfortable in bed, and certain smells made my sickness worse. My husband was kind enough to forfeit some of his pillows to keep me comfortable, and he made sure that the house always smelled like a beach, so that some foul scent wouldn't set me off. Even though I was miserably sick I sort of felt like I lived at a spa for a few months, because I was constantly surrounded by fluffy pillows and fancy candles. It's nearly impossible to ever feel comfortable when you've got hyperemesis gravidarum, but I'm pretty sure I was as close as I could get to feeling at ease.
He Lets His Partner Get Plenty Of Rest
Throwing up all day, ever day can take a lot out of a person. It feels like the worst hangover of your life, only it doesn't subside for months. It's exhausting, to put it lightly. When you've got HG, mid-day naps aren't only acceptable, they're incredibly necessary. Sleeping is the only time when someone suffering from HG feels any sort of relief, so getting plenty of rest is mandatory.
He Keeps An Eye On His Partner To Make Sure She Doesn't Need Medical Attention
Though hyperemesis gravidarum isn't typically life threatening, it can be dangerous for a pregnant woman if it goes untreated. It could lead to dehydration, low amniotic fluid, low blood pressure, jaundice, and even preterm labor, among other things. In severe cases, it could merit a stay in the hospital so that IV fluids can be administered. In other words, it's important to keep an eye on someone suffering from HG. If a woman appears to be lethargic, very pale, or somewhat unresponsive, she needs to seek medical attention.
He Lets His Partner Complain Without Judging Her
The first six months of my first pregnancy were among the most miserable of my life. My vomiting was treated with medication so that I could keep some food down, but I don't remember a single second that wasn't accompanied with nausea. To say that I complained about my condition would be a vast understatement. If I wasn't actually throwing up, I was definitely complaining about it, but my partner took it like a champ and never once made me feel bad about constantly complaining.
He Makes Sure That His Partner's Needs Are Met
When I had HG, I really didn't know what I needed or wanted, or what would make me feel even remotely better. I'm sure my partner felt helpless, but he did his best to try to make me feel better, which was comforting. The little things he did (like leaving the snack stations around and giving me extra pillows and making sure the house smelled good) all made me feel loved and taken care of, which made me feel about as good as I possibly could have. Six months of sickness felt more like six years, but I'm thankful to have had the support of my husband throughout that time. He really did make a miserable time feel more tolerable.