As many of you know, I experience rather extreme morning sickness with my pregnancies. The first one was bad; the second one was worse. Four months of misery.
I’ll never know why I’m one of the lucky minority that gets the privilege of becoming fast friends with Vomit and Fatigue and Dehydration, but I do know that I now have an acute empathy for all those who experience it. And I know how to help.
If you have a friend who suddenly drops off the face of the earth during the 1st trimester, there actually are a few things you can do to help:
1. Erase all food-related words from your vocabulary when you’re around her. Don’t talk about your new favorite ice cream flavor or the awful restaurant you just tried for the first time. Don’t suggest licorice or pineapple or ginger cubes. And whatever you do, don’t discuss E. Coli or salmonella or the hair that you found on your plate at the Olive Garden. Food is taboo.
2. Show up with a meal. Notice that I said, “Show Up with a meal.” Not “Ask her if she’d like you to bring a meal.” If you do the latter, then you risk breaking the first cardinal rule (see #1). I guarantee that it will not help to ask if she prefers chicken enchiladas or pasta bake. In fact, the meal is as much for her hungry and overextended family as it for her. Cook up whatever your heart desires, stop by, hand it over, don’t talk about the meal, the end. It seems a little weird, I know.
If you want to try and include something that she *might* eat in addition to the meal for the family, throw in:
- a few bottles of 7-Up or Ginger Ale
- a loaf of homemade bread
- a pack of Saltines
- a pack of licorice
- any other remedy that worked for you (but don’t talk about it)
3. Show sympathy. If you’ve never experienced extreme morning sickness, just think about what it would be like if you had the worst case of flu, nausea, and dizziness ever…for four straight months…24/7. Now imagine that it’s worse than that. It’s horrible with a capital H. So forgive her for not responding to e-mails, for not calling you to tell you she was pregnant, for being totally and completely silent. Say, “I’m sorry – it stinks” and not much more. And then bring her another meal…