I have never had the blessing of being one of those people that throws up when they’re hungover. Maybe you are, and maybe you do not count this as a blessing. I have heard stories of mistimed chunders while motorway driving, while sitting opposite a cute guy on a train, while waiting for a job interview. Admittedly, at the time, I’m guessing that feels like the furthest possible thing from a blessing, but hear me out.
Apart from room-spinning-comatose levels of intoxication (we’ve all been there), most of my hurling is reserved for 24hr bugs, gastro, and food poisoning. All in all, I’d say legitimate sickness has hit me twice in the past five years. But here’s the thing. When the jelly legs hit, and the spit turns salty in your mouth, it’s a relief. Knowing that your body is doing all it can to physically purge the badness from your system, it’s purifying, detoxifying, hell while you’re at it but afterwards, a strange plateau of serenity. Maybe I’m on my own here, I’ve never really asked anyone, “Hey, dont you love the feeling after you’ve ripped the lining from the walls of your stomach, forehead moist with sweat, throat burning with acid?”
So, when I say that I’m strangely envious of the hungover-vomiters, I’m thinking that the body wrenching absolution of throwing everything up seems like the more favourable option to the churning, seasick, ups and downs of day-long nausea, knowing that the poison is working its way, oh so slowly, through your system. Disagree or agree, I think I’ve raised a controversial subject. Let’s battle it out later.
So when morning sickness hit me like a tonne of bricks as the result of two very pink lines last July, the first symptom that welcomed Spud’s new tenancy in my womb was the rolling sickness that sits in the pit of your stomach and refuses to budge. To people who asked, I likened the feeling, with a smile, to a hangover- to which people replied, dismayed, “But you cant drink!” Gah. It’s NOT a hangover, it’s LIKE a hangover.
Morning sickness without the sick is really common, more so than the vomming type. Yet still, I figured that I’m relatively young (24), relatively fit (slim but enjoys pasta) and have an immune system to challenge a caveman, I didn’t quantify it as a threat. Like the “common” winter cold, I thought it would be a “common” something “other people” got. One mama said to me last week, “It’s amazing how much your body will betray you,” sofa bound and gingered out, I’m clinging onto that along with the back-of-the-throat tightness and a tummy that won’t settle. 3 more weeks, and I’ll hopefully want to eat something more than Rich Tea biscuits.
So, while OBVIOUSLY everyone is different, these are some of the life savers I found and clung on to, while the sickness was at it's worst.....
- WTF?! #1: I developed a huge aversion to fresh vegetables: infact, even the thought of anything green or juicy or fresh made my stomach do a treble pike. Talking to other mamas, this completely counter-intuitive aversion is actually pretty common.
Soluion: Overturning this one is a matter of discipline. To keep me healthy, pooping, acne and scurvy-free and boost that depleted immune system, Rob would sneak a rainbow of vegetables into every meal he cooked, which must’ve offset my dinners of hash browns and dry toast at least a little. On days when I really couldn’t face it, I popped a spirulina tablet which is also high in pregnancy vitamins iodine and iron.
- WTF?! #2: Pre-pregnancy, when I got hungry, my tummy would let me know very quickly and very aggressivley. I was an every- four-hour kind of eater with an appetite that was more ambitious than my metabolism. But now, I havent heard my tummy grumble in five weeks. I dont get ‘hungry’, I just feel ‘more sick.’
Solution: The turning point came when I realised this, and even though it’s the very last thing I want to do, EATING LITTLE AND OFTEN DOES HELP.
- WTF?! #3: As pregnancy progresses, progesterone levels increase which slows down digestion- making sure the body extracts every little nutrient out of the food you do consume (and keep down) So even though your metabolism starts to speed up meaning you’ll need a higher calorie intake, the speed at which it moves through your system decreases... so, you know what that equals. Just another of those weird pregnancy contradictions.
Solution: A really high fibre cereal such as All Bran keeps everything- er- moving along…
- Staying aboard the almighty All Bran train, cereals such as this do infact have a 5 Health Star rating, and are fortified with important minerals such as folate (which you need A LOT of, especially if you’re skimping on the spinach) magnesium, iron and riboflavin, all of which are required elements of a prenatal supplement. Not to mention you’re going to need a lot of milk to go with all that bran- and calcium is never a bad shout.
- WTF?! #4: I only wanted to eat “dry” stuff. For a loooong time. We’re talking toast, rice crackers, plain biscuits (Arrowroot to my south hemispherical friends, Rich Tea to my north) and… nope, that’s about it.
Solution: I tried to make the most of what I DID eventually eat with natural peanut butter, vegemite (vit B’s), a bit of avo (euup a bit too green) and smashed banana.
- However, applying common sense helps. Although it seems as though pregnants are losing more and more choice, don't panic, our mums and grandmums ate half the stuff on this NHS list, and in 20 years time our daughters will probably be agahst at what we eat now. Moderation is key.
- Or then again, maybe moderation is bullshit- on the phone to Mumma in the UK asking her to source some decaff earl grey teabags, she tells me with much gusto she drank gallons of regular tea and coffee everyday with me, and hell, Guinness too at the pub (“It’s full of iron, darling!”) with a splash of Ribena in it, though, ‘cos.. pregnancy.