How to Help A Friend Who Has Morning Sickness

hthaf-morning-sicknessAs 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:

erasers1. 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.

delivery woman2. 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
  • Jello
  • 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)

2 hearts3. 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...

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13 comments on “How to Help A Friend Who Has Morning Sickness”

  1. Thanks for the tips; I wish I'd had them before you started getting so sick, because now I feel like a terrible friend and neighbor. :( But time's almost up; yay!!! :) I can't wait to meet the new little bundle!

  2. I know you're over the morning sickness...are you feeling better from the sinus infection? Gosh, you've been through the ringer, haven't you! Good tips...definitely coming from a woman who knows!

  3. Now I'm feeling horrible for contributing even the slightest to any follow-up conversation in the comments back when you posted about having morning sickness. I would imagine another rule would be "don't talk about morning sickness and/or its side effects!" :)

    That's good advice. I'll keep it in mind.

  4. So true! You're reminding me of my first trimester. That was truly awful. I like to think that I enjoyed being pregnant, and I did--but only after the first trimester was over. It was ROUGH!!!

  5. Wow, that really does sound horrible. I'm so sorry you had to go through that. This is a great set of rules - I'll be sure to follow them when the need arises.

  6. great rules. i might copy and save this if we get pregnant again...i have being sick for almost half of the pregnancy...its amazing we even want to have more :)

  7. I might need to post this on my blog in a couple of weeks when we tell people the real reason I am feeling bad these days! Baby #2 is on her way and I've started feeling sick much earlier this time around....

  8. Were you diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum? I had HG with 2 of my 3 pregnancies, and each time I was admitted to the hospital for severe dehydration. I even had an at-home nurse during my first and was hooked up to an IV 24 hours a day. I couldn't even move to get out of bed. I took part in HG research a few years ago. Doctors can only speculate about the cause, and there is no known cure (wouldn't that be fantastic if there were?!). I think only 1 in 500 pregnant women gets HG. My sister thought I was making it all up until she was diagnosed with it during her third (why would anyone make that up?). Researchers think it might run in families.

    I know you're getting excited about the big day - so are we!!

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