Today is May 15th. Today is Monday. Today is McDonalds’ 57th anniversary. Today is Andy Murray’s Birthday. Today is International Hyperemesis Gravidarum Awareness day.
I’ve written a lot about HG, how life alteringly debilitating it is, how it clouds what should be the most exciting time of your life, how I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy! But I recently heard of something called ‘post traumatic growth’, which is essentially the opposite of ptsd.. and I wondered if I ‘had it’. So whilst I still can’t bear to see Greg Wallace’s face on the TV, take a whiff of a tomato curry or be inside our house if the windows haven’t been open all day (it’s a smell thing!), HG definitely changed me. And I think it changed me for the better. I wondered if I could write down 10 positive things that came from the darkest months of my life.. and I could.
1. Friendship. Surprisingly HG makes a great talking point. Since becoming a mum I have spoken to so many people, and I’ve been surprised how many people also suffered. Ive reconnected with people I once knew, met local mums who had been through it at the same time as me, and virtually met some really brilliant women through the charity PSS.
2. Volunteering. Before HG I had never really done anything for charity before. Call me a cynic, but It always bothered me when people raised money for a big charity they had no link to, just so they could get their marathon place or climb a mountain in a glorious country somewhere! But since I have experienced the work of a small charity first hand, I finally have a reason to give back. It’s an amazing feeling when you can see someone’s life is a little easier or a little better as a direct result of something you did or said. So, I feel very proud to be working with the amazing team at Pregnancy Sickness Support!
3. Purpose. I’m pretty sure I’ve always been a vigilante without a cause! A writer with nothing to say! (A musician with nothing to sing? Maybe not that one.. I can’t see a HG charity single making number one any time soon..) since having HG it’s like a fire has been lit in my belly! I have something fight for! A word to spread! Call me Jesus, whatever! I’ve found my calling.. (?? Or something less ridiculous sounding). And that’s a pretty amazing feeling.
4. This here blog. I didn’t really know what this blog was when I started. Well to be honest I’m not sure I’ve worked it out yet either! Sort of a musings of parenthood/ HG warrior compilation? Either way, now I’ve got something to say, I’ve discovered a love of writing. I hated writing at school, and now I realise it’s because I had nothing to say, why would anyone listen to someone who didn’t have anything to say?! But you listen to people who ramble on like their brain just exploded over their computer screen… right?
5. Midwifing. I’m currently dreading going back to work in September. But having faced ‘the other side’ of life in a maternity ward, and a hell of a lot of time in the hospital bed rather than next to it, I am definitely changed for the better! Call it ‘method’ midwifery.
6. The NHS. Now more than ever I can see how lucky we are to have universal access to healthcare and I’ll be damned if anyone takes it away!
7. Us. Papa Oatcake and I are getting married this year! HG is possibly the biggest test ever of a relationship and we made it through. He was my rock and my carer and everything in between. If we can make it through that, we’ll have no trouble with the next 50 years! (Planning a wedding, buying and renovating a house, in the company of a 6 month old is a breeze in comparison!)
8. Food. I’ve always been someone who’s been fairly ok with the way I see myself. I’ll go for a week or so where I try to eat healthy or eat less if this or more of that. Since HG I’m just happy that I can eat! Healthy food, unhealthy food, all sorts! For so many people with HG they never have the same relationship with food again, and there’s a few foods I can’t go near, but in general, if it’s edible, I’ll eat it! I was getting my wedding dress fitted recently, which I bought 5 months pregnant.. and it is now MILES too small. (I was 1 1/2 stone lighter 5 months pregnant that I was at 1 month pregnant!). The dress maker asked me if I was planning on losing any weight, and I was relieved/happy/content to say ‘no thankyou very much! Just make it fit my healthy normal sized body please!’
9. Outlook. HG was the hardest thing I’ve ever overcome! And I’ve learned that we all have a strength so far down that we can pull out when we really really need to. And now I feel like I could do anything. I would jump out of a plane, swim with sharks.. I can even clean the drain catcher out after doing the washing up with my BARE hands (I know, call me Bear Grylls, I laugh in the face of danger.)