If cisgender men could get pregnant, there'd either be a cure for morning sickness, we'd grow babies in artificial wombs, or the human race would die off. Why? Oh, because morning sickness is the worst. While most pregnant people experience it to a certain extent, it's often dismissed as a "bad hangover." Excuse me, but hangovers don't last for months at a time. So yes, even the most loving partners don't really "get" morning sickness, and occasionally they'll say a comment or two that you really don't need to hear when you're suffering from morning sickness.
My morning sickness was horrible, because it was really an "all day" sickness. I felt like I was both starving and too nauseated to eat. Some days I couldn't keep anything down, and on other days I could only keep down really gross and weird combinations of foods, like salt and vinegar potato chips, Handi-snacks, egg sandwiches, and sour patch kids. I wasn't really hitting the bottom of the food pyramid, my friends.
For the most part, my partner was loving, supportive, and kind during my pregnancy, and especially when I was sick. He brought me foods I requested and only occasionally poked fun at my "pregnancy cravings." That said, there were more than a few times when he let a few comments slip that made me feel angry, sad, embarrassed, or frustrated. It can be pretty hard to hear anyone, let alone your partner, point out the vomit smell clinging to your hair, or the fact that you seem to have peed your pants. Sometimes I actually did need to call in sick to work, or lie on the bathroom floor all day, and I didn't appreciate getting flack for taking care of my pregnant self. Pregnancy is hard, and morning sickness was, for me, one of the worst parts.
So believe me when I say there are a few things no person with morning sickness should have to hear from her partner, including but certainly not limited to the following:
"It's Just Morning Sickness"
Morning sickness sucks. Loving partners really shouldn't minimize your pain, nausea, and weeks of vomiting by calling it just morning sickness. I get that people who haven't been there can't really understand, but at the same time, I wish our culture could get past this bullsh*t idea that women are exaggerating their pain or the extent of their discomfort.
Plus, when you don't have any idea what someone is experiencing, it's best to offer empathy, comfort, and kindness. You know, just a general rule.
"You Smell Like Vomit"
I assure you, your pregnant partner knows they smell like vomit. You see, pregnancy enhances your sense of smell. If you feel like being kind to the person who is literally growing a human inside their body, ask if they want a shower or bath, but whatever you do, don't mention vomit. Besides, you probably smell bad to them, too.
"Did You Seriously Call In Sick?"
If you can't eat or drink, and you're taking anti-nausea medications that make you sleepy, driving to work is close to impossible. I threw up almost every time I drove or rode in the car, usually peeing my pants at the same time. So, yeah, sometimes it's better to stay home and close to your private bathroom.
"Want To Have Sex?"
Um, no. If you were vomiting every hour, had said vomit in your hair, and feel like hell, would you want sex? Your partner might want sex, but when they have morning sickness, putting them in a position to have to turn you down sucks.
"Did You Pee Your Pants?"
Pregnant people pee. A lot. And when we have morning sickness, the act of throwing up can usually end with peeing your pants. Sometimes, if you call in sick or sleep on the blessedly cold bathroom floor, you can forego pants. Other times? Well, I don't want to talk about it. I will say this: if your pregnant partner pees their pants, don't ask any questions.
"Let's Get Your Favorite Food"
Trust me when I say that morning sickness can ruin your favorite food. Your sense of smell doesn't work right, things you love taste like chalk, and once you've puked up your favorite meal you aren't going to enjoy it for a while. Partners out there, I recommend asking your pregnant partner what she feels like eating, and maybe, depending on her preferences, gently suggesting soft foods that won't take horrible coming up.
"Can You Make Dinner?"
I normally don't mind sharing meal prep tasks with my partner, but morning sickness makes cooking a struggle. All those smells, sounds, textures, and tastes? I think I am going to vomit just thinking about it.
"Are You Going To Eat That?"
When pregnant me found foods that I could keep down, they were usually weird or disgusting. I was starving and the last thing I needed was someone commenting about my food choices. Loving partners — and everyone, really — should let pregnant moms-to-be eat whatever they can keep down and crave. Full stop. Please avoid joining the pregnancy police.
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