I felt pretty lonely during my first pregnancy. No one seemed to understand how I felt. One day the founder of the ZEHG foundation approached me on a forum. From that day on, I slowly learned about HG and I realised I was not alone in this. Unfortunately no one official told me I had it. Not my GP, not my gynecologist, no one. They kept saying it was just normal nausea. Because of this, I kept feeling like I was alone. After I gave birth, I did some research online and found out I really did had HG. I couldn’t do it during the pregnancy, because I couldn’t look at a screen too long. Or else my stomach would be really, really upset. Finding the info, I felt a rush of recognition. But it also made me sad. Because I wished I had all that info during my pregnancy, so I could educate all those that said it was just nausea.
Right now I am a volunteer at the ZEHG foundation, I am active online in the Facebook support group and I write this blog. But I wish I could do more, much more. I wish I can open people’s eyes. Make them see the truth about HG. That I can make them see the impact it has. On not only the HG victim, but also on their family. I wish I could scream the truth out loud. But I can’t. Right now I am struggling to make a full recovery. To be myself again. I want to leave the HG behind me and become a mother again, a lover, a friend, a daughter, me. And still, I am not alone. New members are joining the support group almost daily. Relieved to find so much recognition. The unconditional support. A place to cry, to scream, to laugh, to complain. A place to be yourself. A place without judgement. But most of all, a place with infinite love. During my last pregnancy the support group was there for me and I am grateful for their support. As soon as I heard about the HG support group meeting, for women that suffered HG, I knew I had to go.
As I looked around me that afternoon, all I could think was: Respect. Respect for all those women that were there. Respect for their mothers, their partners. Respect for the strength, the beauty, the humor, but mostly respect for us. It was the first meeting ever. Which made it pretty scary. Because I didn’t knew anyone by face, but most of them all knew some of my darkest secrets. These women were there for me during my pregnancy. They listened when I wanted to give up and made me hold on. And then there they were. As soon as I saw them all the tension left. All I could see were strong and beautiful women. Women that know exactly how I felt all those months. But most of all, women that know exactly how I still feel.
If you had HG you can probably imagine what we talked about. About the pain, the suffering, the pain, the sorrow we went through. Plenty of tears had fallen to the ground that afternoon. But on the other side, there was a lot of laughter too. And couldn’t it be any better? We laughed, we cried. We did it together. That afternoon it was clear how strong all these women are inside. HG doesn’t knock us down. Sometimes it might, but we get back up time after time. Why? Because we are not alone. We have each other. We have our strength, our humor. But what makes us strong, is that we can share it with each other. Even that day, our thoughts, conversations and hearts were with those that couldn’t be there. Those that were at home or in hospital. Suffering, vomiting and wishing it would all be over.
Even this is life after HG. And even in this, you are not alone. It doesn’t matter if you are planning a next pregnancy, in the midst of one, or happy that it’s over. It doesn’t matter one bit. Thanks to the foundation, thanks to the Facebook support group and thanks to all the HG victims and thanks to the support meeting, it all became clear once more. During and after HG, it doesn’t make a difference. You are not alone!
his post was written for ZEHG, a Dutch foundation dedicated to raise awareness in The Netherlands for Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Original (Dutch) entry can be found here: Blog – Leven na HG, deel 4