I think if cisgender men could get pregnant, there'd either be a cure for morning sickness or the human race would die out. Morning sickness is the worst. Most pregnant people experience it, but other people seem to think it's a joke or no big deal or "just nausea." It's infuriating. Having weeks or months of relentless nausea and vomiting is absolutely a "big deal," and can make you feel like you're dying. But maybe people can't really understand unless they've experienced it? To find out, I asked men to guess what morning sickness actually feels like. If you've endured this special brand of hell, prepare yourself for their estimates. They're um, well, yeah.
If I'm being honest, I really wasn't expecting any of the dudes to get it right. Morning sickness is pretty hard to describe, even for those of us who have been through it more than once. As a morning sickness expert, I was surprised that their descriptions were pretty damn close, at least as close as someone who's never vomited for weeks on end could get. Most of them drew from their own personal experience with nausea and vomiting — and by far the most popular answer was "like being hungover." They aren't wrong. It was kind of like a bad hangover — or to be more accurate, the worst hangover of your life — but only if that hangover lasted for months and made you question your decision to get pregnant in the first place.
For me, morning sickness meant I felt like was starving, but so nauseated I couldn't eat. When I did manage to get something down my gullet, it had to be grease and carbs, which I promptly threw up. The only things I could keep down some days were sour candy and lemonade, but having a mostly empty stomach only made things worse. It was truly a never-ending cycle of feeling like hell. And that was morning sickness. My last two pregnancies I had hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) — severe nausea and vomiting — and it was so bad that it weighed heavily in my decision to get my tubes tied. No, I'm not joking, and now I know I'll never experience HG again.
I was also surprised that some of the guys showed some serious empathy for their pregnant friends and partners, which made me happy. Hopeful, as a result of their empathetic guesses, people will stop dismissing morning sickness, especially when it can be serious. Maybe if more people thought about how horrible it is and tried to put themselves in pregnant people's shoes, we'd have better treatments (or even a cure). Until then, here are some men's guesses about what morning sickness actually feels like:
"Like a bad hangover?"
Shandon draws from his own experience here and is on the right track... that is, if hangovers lasted for months.
"I don’t know, a bad hangover? Am I close?”
Yes, close, but imagine much worse.
"It probably feels like being hungover."
With way less tequila the night before, my friend.
"I'm guessing it's like a never-ending hangover? The kind where everything sounds horrible, and you just want it to be over? That's all I have to draw from, personally."
Clay is my husband and has a ton of vicarious experience with morning sickness. Good effort.
"I would imagine it feels like having nauseous, flu-like symptoms."
"I have gout. When it flares up I used to take a medicine that caused me debilitating nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea for a day to get rid of the pain. I'm guessing that morning sickness is like the side effects of that medicine, without any benefit and with no end in sight."
Yep, Toby seems to get it.
"Nausea, throwing up — it feels like suckiness — like food poisoning on steroids?"
"Suckiness" is such a good word to describe morning sickness.
While I think Travis was trying to be funny, all joking aside, sometimes morning sickness felt exactly like regret.
"Like hell. It was absolutely awful for my wife. She was almost hospitalized."
Yep. Anonymous' wife had hyperemesis gravidarum, which is way worse than morning sickness, but they sometimes get lumped together. I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.
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