Life after HG – Honesty (4)

“How are you?” That is such a simple question. One you will probably hear everyday. But what will your answer be? You probably just give a standard reaction. Something like, I’m fine or busy. But just think for a second. Are you really? Do you give an honest answer or do you respond automatically? For me it feels like everything needs to be positive nowadays. You have to feel fine, be happy and most of all you cannot complain about anything. Even if it is all a lie. People just don’t expect an honest answer anymore.

I, on the other hand, am honest. I don’t feel ashamed if things aren’t going well. Besides, I would want the other person to answer the same question honestly as well. Aren’t things going great? Just say so! Don’t feel embarrassed when your life isn’t perfect. Be honest and maybe I am able to help or support you. But it seems to me that I am one of the few that feels this way.

During my pregnancy I lost several followers on Social Media. Just for being honest. According to them I was too negative. I wasn’t. The first few months I only had Facebook as my window to the outside world. It wasn’t negative what I shared, but things just weren’t positive. Yes, I was pregnant. But I felt like shit. My whole world existed of a hospital bed, my own bed or the couch. That was my life. Usually I tried to give it a positive spin. Like the one time I finally managed to shower alone. For me that felt like winning the marathon. The first positive thing in a few months. For many others it might have been too much in their face and too hard to understand. It was as positive as I could get. And why should I have lied about it? Or just be quiet? When someone asks you how you feel, why shouldn’t you be able to just tell the truth? Why is it people expect you to lie and just tell them what they want to hear?

What I noticed on Facebook was that people remember all the negative things much better. Afterwards I looked at my ratio between negative and positive messages. There were more positive than negative. Apparently if you are negative, is wrong. Nut for me it was not being negative, it was being honest and telling my online friends how I felt. People don’t want you to complain, but they even can’t seem to remember all the positive things. But check out Facebook for a second. Just look at it. It is a medium on which you should be able to share anything you like. Look at it. What do you see? It promotes all this don’t be negative attitude. It only has a Like button. Now look even better. What do your friends post? Most of them probably only post positive or funny things. Everyone is having fun, at least according to Facebook. The bad days, you know what I mean. Those days you just wish the day was over. You hardly see anything about that.

I have been in New York City once. Fantastic city, loved it and would love to go back. No matter where you are, people will ask you how you are doing. However, they don’t expect you to really answer it. It has just become a phrase. This is the way we are going, here in The Netherlands. No one really asks how someone is feeling, wanting to know the truth. In my eyes, this is wrong. In this day and age we are more and more living in our phones, tablets or computers. But if we keep up this need to be positive attitude, no one will really know how we are doing. And no one will be able to help each other. This is so important! I felt so alone during my pregnancy. It felt like I couldn’t really talk to people, they expected me to be happy because I was pregnant. And still, I am not doing fine. But what will I answer when someone asks me? I just tell them how my little girl is doing. I don’t tell them how I am doing. Why not? Because I don’t want to see the frown and hear them tell me not to be so negative. Most of the time they aren’t truly interested, so I don’t bother anymore.

“How are you?” It should be a simple question. A question from the heart. It should be said because you are interested. Not just as a phrase. But now, for me, it is a question that raises the question on how interested that person really is.

This 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

Life after HG – Understanding (3)

It will be obvious by now that HG has a big impact on a pregnancy. With this blog I am trying to show the impact it has on you as a person. I tried to explain many times how it feels to have HG. Trying to explain how it feels to not be able to do anything. To only be able to just lay in bed or on a couch. Why I could hardly play with my oldest. Or why there were many times that I wished that I wasn’t pregnant. But even the professionals. Those who should know a thing or two with their degrees. Even those working in health care or those experienced in pregnancies, even those hardly understand. I have heard some shocking stories from fellow HG survivors. Locked up in dark rooms, admitted to psych wards, having to clean up their vomit every single time whilst in hospital. During my pregnancy I tried to take away that understanding and I feel like I did raise some awareness. What I didn’t expected was the misunderstanding after the pregnancy!

In my eyes it is obvious you do not feel perfect right after childbirth. It is even more obvious if you had HG. You have been ill for 9 months. Your body needs to recover, get stronger. Not only from HG, but also from giving birth and just having been pregnant. After my first pregnancy I was recovered in a few months. As soon as the baby slept, I would. This time I had a toddler running around, begging for my attention. She was thrilled I wasn’t feeling like crap anymore, unable to do anything. A lot of people don’t understand why it is taking me so long this time round. So again I can explain, try to make them understand what it is like.

Survivors of HG, Yes I call them survivors. There are still women dying suffering from HG. They can get problems with their self worth, with being intimate, guilt and problems with eating. But it goes a lot further that this. Women that suffered from HG can develop Post Traumatic Stress Symptoms (PTSS). Surviving HG can feel like surviving a deadly disease. And that is what HG partly is; a deadly disease. It threatens the life of mother and child. So it isn’t strange what a big impact HG has on you. If you want more information do check out the website of the HER foundation. There is a very interesting article there about PTSS and HG: HG and PTSS. This article has opened my eyes and made me realise the effect the HG had on me.

But how can you describe it to someone? I have a lot of problems with my self worth. During my pregnancy I was nothing but a shadow of the woman I used to be. I cannot look at myself from a positive angle. I have lost a lot of energy, a lot of muscles, am tired all the time, my hormone levels have gone haywire and my brain cannot handle complex matters. That last thing really causes a lot of problems. I am a woman and multitasking is my forte. Right now multitasking is asking for trouble. I can only handle one thing at a time. As soon as a second thing needs my attention, I explode. I get irritated and angry. I am far from the real me and that can be very difficult at times. I try to hide it from the outside world. Mostly because of the lack of understanding. I don’t want to answer all those questions. I don’t know how long this will take. It feels like I have tried almost everything and although I appreciate all the help, I have already done most things. I do what I can and most of the time it is even more than I can take. I try to be a mother, a housewife, a girlfriend. Mostly I try to be me again. To be confidant, full of energy and just plain happy.

Not being able to explain it, makes it so difficult. I do realise the negative image I am creating with this blog. And yes, for me it is very hard right now. Luckily not all HG survivors need to go through this. There are good experiences! So don’t lose hope, I am just an extreme case. And there are probably loads of people that do understand. But 4 months after and I start to notice that people around me grow tired of it. Luckily I am not alone. I have two beautiful daughters and the HG brought me and my boyfriend only closer together. He saw the worst of me. I had to lose all shame and I could only do that because I trust him 100%. He sat next to me when I vomited again and again. He ran to the shop as soon as I was hungry. Hij comforted me when I lost all hope. He took care of my eldest daughter and cleaned the house. He helped me shower, washed me when I was to weak to do it myself. And don’t forget, he also had to go to work every day!

He was my rock during this pregnancy. And he didn’t complained once. Yes, it was hard on him to and of course he lost hope at times. At those moments we both weeped for not being able to enjoy this pregnancy. But all he did, he did it out of love. And I would do the same for him, without a doubt. I believe that our relationship grew stronger because of this. Therefore the cliche stands and it has all been worth it. Don’t get me wrong. The thought of having to go through it again scares the shit out of me. It would destroy me and my family. But I wouldn’t miss it all for the world.

This 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 3

Life after HG – Obsessed with food (2)

Food became an obsession during my pregnancy. In the first few months every bite I took came out. It didn’t matter if it was a sip of water or a small bite of a cracker. It didn’t matter what I ate or drank. I had to force myself to eat and drink something. And when I won that fight, I had to fight to keep it down. I never knew if it would stay down or not. It depended on structure, smell and taste. Smell was the most important factor. I could smell things a mile away and almost everything smelled bad.

As soon as I have found something that would stay down, I kept eating it until I couldn’t stand the sight of it. I had weeks I only drank smoothies or fast food. Meat wasn’t an option almost the entire pregnancy. Vegetables were heaven. Every day I had to fight for every bite. As soon as I felt a glimmer of hunger, I had to think what I would like at that moment. What would stay down? I had to eat almost every minute. Because the nausea would get worse as soon as I felt hungry. So my day was constantly filled with thinking about food and trying to eat something. Forcing myself to eat. It felt like I had an eating disorder.

I had to eat. I had no choice. There was a tiny being growing inside of me and it needed to grow strong and healthy. Even though the doctors told me that the baby will get everything it needs, I doubted it. I lost 20 pounds the first month. How can the baby get all the nutrition it needs when I lose that many? At the second time in the hospital they gave me a choice. Either I started eating for myself, or they would force I tube down my throat into my stomach. Easy choice! From then on I forced myself to eat. Trying to ignore all the vomiting and to just keep eating. I didn’t needed a tube and I didn’t needed to go to hospital again! But eating became an obsession. Because I had to. Not only for me, but for the little one.

I can hardly describe how good it felt the moment I could eat everything again. As soon as I had my baby girl safely in my arms, I wanted to eat. I was feeling hungry without feeling nauseas. I enjoyed every bite I put in my mouth. And after not having that for so long, I didn’t hold back. I ate what I wanted, when I wanted and as much as I wanted. The pressure was off, I decided when I had to eat. Now and again a smell or taste brought back the memories of the HG. Then panic would strike for a second. I would then just needed to breathe and remind myself that I wasn’t sick anymore.

The only problem was that my body had went into survival mode. Because of the lack of nutrition during my pregnancy every gram of sugar or fat was stored in my body. It felt like my body was scared I would very soon mistreat it again. Every ounce I had lost during my pregnancy, I gained rapidly. Which resulted in another obsession with food. I wanted to eat what I want, but I didn’t wanted to gain a lot of weight. I wanted to enjoy food again! Yet seeing my body grow wider and wider, I felt horrible. I wanted to enjoy, but I couldn’t. During my pregnancy eating became an obsession because I couldn’t eat. Yet now it was an obsession because I could, but didn’t wanted to on the same side.

Right now I have found a fragile balance. But even now, eating still remains a problem.

This 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 2

The life after HG – my experience (1)

There she was. After nine months feeling sick, vomiting, nausea and many other discomforts, I finally gave birth to my daughter. It was my second pregnancy, so you would think I knew what I was doing. And what I have gotten myself in to. Yet again it was hell all over again. Month after month, day after day, I was counting every minute I got closer to giving birth. I wanted her out, I wanted to feel better again! I knew that as soon as she got out, I would feel better again. At least, that is what most people think. And yes, it is true. The HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) disappears almost immediately. But you’re not there yet.

My HG pregnancy was relatively mild. I’ve only been in hospital twice. Once when I was 7 weeks pregnant and the second time at 9 weeks pregnant. I managed to do it without tube feeding and at 26 weeks pregnant I was just as heavy as I was when I got pregnant. I didn’t had to vomit all pregnancy, that partly stopped after 4 months. The extreme nausea stayed. It can be worse, lot worse. Despite having the mild version, I saw my muscles disappear in front of me. Doing nothing all day is pretty hard on your body. I didn’t got all the nutritions a pregnant body needs and it was noticeable. My energy levels were the same as those of my grandmother. And still I had to go into labour.

Even that went really easy. It only took me one hour before my baby girl came into this world. My nausea disappeared immediately, as well as my energy. I was exhausted. Nut just because of the delivery, but mostly because of my pregnancy. Even after giving birth, you can still feel the complications of an HG pregnancy. They don’t disappear as soon as you are done. I wish! Only then I started to feel how much it had taken from me. During the pregnancy all you do is survive. You hold on for the baby growing inside of you. You can’t eat or drink, so it’s obvious why you are feeling and looking like shit. But as soon as the baby has popped out, things change. The main reason for feeling like crap is behind you. You are holding your child, so you should be fine. At least that is what I thought and those around me. But the real hard work still has to begin. You are a mother now and from then on it doesn’t matter if you are feeling sick or if you don’t have any energy. Your child needs you and especially in the beginning it will be 24 hours a day.

Life isn’t easy after an HG pregnancy. I’m going through it myself. And I hope by sharing my experience, I can educate and spread awareness for this disease. And I hope I can make you understand that HG isn’t over once you give birth.

This 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

Work in progress

How do you deal with things from the past? Will you ignore everything that’s happened to you? Or are you tormented by your memories? Meet Kate, she had her own troubles growing up. And just like every person has its own way of dealing with events from their childhood, so does Kate. She didn’t dealt with them. She just hid all of those memories away. Far away. Now as an adult she struggles to live her life. Without the memories taking over. She is living a double life; in her journals she is herself and lets the memories loose. However in real life she hides behind a mask, being the loving wife and mother everyone thinks she is.

Kate isn’t real. She is the main character of the third book I am trying to write. Kate is me and yet she isn’t. A few things about her are based on me, on my own childhood, on the way I deal with things. The idea for this book has been with me for a lot of years now. It is completely the opposite from my previous two books. This one is a lot more serious and a lot more personal.

It is hard to describe the type of story. It is modern fictional. Yet there are elements in there, that are based on my own life. This book will tackle how you, in your adult life, will deal with the fact that you grew up with an alcoholic parent. I hope it will bring people to tears and will make them smile. I want people to be touched by this story, to be moved. But most of all, I do hope it will raise peoples awareness about alcoholism.

So, how would I describe the story? I would say it is a biography as well as a drama and fiction. I would call it a modern bificdra (fictional biography fictional drama).

Faithful readers of my blog know I’ve been working on this book for a long time now. As it is very personal and deals with things I dealt with growing up, it can be difficult to write at times. Writing this story is like talking to a psychiatrist. I need to face my own demons to be able to write those of Kate. I promised this before and I will promise it again. I will finish this book. I truly will. It won’t be tomorrow and it won’t be next month. But I will finish it.

I haven’t found a publisher for this book yet. So if you are one and interested, or if you know one, please contact me through this link.

Oops

Usually when you keep a blog, you post stuff on it. Frequently. And not once every few months like me. It is not that nothing is happening in my life or anything. I just forget about sharing it most of the time. Or I think of something to write in the middle of the night, fall asleep and can’t remember what I wanted to do in the morning. I might have messed up my short term memory or maybe my head is just spinning with too many thoughts.

But here I am, writing a new entry. And I totally forgot what I wanted to tell you. Besides an apology. I am very sorry for not writing more often. I wish I could tell you I am busy working on my third book. But I am not. I am not working on a book at all. Still suffering from that annoying writers block. Mostly I just enjoy spending time with my little girl. Occasionally reading a book (just finished the Hunger Games series). And still looking for a new job.

So, not much to tell at this moment. Reading this was probably an entire waste of your time. But hey, now I am good for at least another month with my blog. I mean… it would be really freaky if I would post something here for a second time this month. That would almost seem like I care ;)

Attalossiversary

Today is the day. Today I celebrate my first Attalossiversary!!! Today a year ago it all started. I woke up one morning, checked my Twitter and saw this band from L.A. following me. Not knowing them, I checked their website, I checked their music and it happened. I fell in love with Attaloss. As the weeks went by, I got to know Kota, Danny, Chris, Zo and Matt a lot better. You just have to love their music, but once you get to know these guys, you are really hooked. What an amazing guys! Such big hearts, such great souls. They made it easy to become a fan. But they made it even easier to become their friend. But it didn’t end there. Then there were these fans. This incredible group of women from all over the world. And with them I have gained a warm and loving family.

I cannot write this without getting a bit teary eyed. All of them have been there for me when I needed it the most. When I was down, one of them was bound to pick me up and to make me smile. Watching those live video chats early mornings, filled with the crazy energy these guys have, was the best part of my week. When I needed a chat, someone to talk to, I knew I could count on one of them to be there to listen. Guys, you stood by me when I needed it the most. You made me laugh, you even made me cry a couple of times and your music filled my soul. I cannot thank you enough for being here. For making the music that you do. And for my girls, The Alliance, you are my family and I cannot live without you. One day I will get to hold you, hug you and thank you in person. I just know I will. But for now, this will have to do. Thank you all!!

I’ve written this poem a while ago. I hope you enjoy it. It is what music does to me and it fits perfectly for my one year Attalossiversary.

At the soft sounds of the very first notes
Deep within a sparkle comes to life
Even before the first chorus
Words are forming in my mind
Every single tune triggers a new emotion
Drifting away from the here and now

Listening to a song
I am what I want to be 
I am losing myself in time
As I am dipping myself into this music
I let my imagination run wild

No rules
No boundaries
Just me

The dark sounds of a drum
Sends a shiver down my spine
The melody of a guitar
Can bring tears to my eyes
And with the sweet caress of a voice
I am lifted off to the skies

Writers block

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am dealing with a pretty heavy writers block. And not only is it a writers block, it is also a reading block. Me, the girl who devours books, has lost all interest. I just can’t seem to relax enough or something. I find it impossible to just sit down with a book and loose myself in the story the way I used to do. There is too much to do, too much going on in my mind. And honestly? I really, really miss it. Reading a book used to be my way to relax. Too let every problem go and stop worrying for a second. Right now, I just can’t.

Besides of not being able to just relax enough to focus on a book, I find it impossible to write one myself. As you might know, I’ve been working on one for quite a while now. It is my baby, my little treasure. Writing it, however, seems to be a problem. So thanks to the advice of a friend of mine, I am slowly moving into the writing game again. And by slowly, I mean writing what I am good at. Totally nonsense and mushy, heartwarming and cheap romantic fiction. I’ve started on a few a while ago and already one came into mind that might be nice to continue on. All I need to do now is dig deep in my archives and see what I’ve already came up with.

I am still a writer, despite the fact that I can’t even write a single page at the moment. It still is somewhere inside of me. And hopefully, by starting slow and simple again, it will pop back up on to the surface.

Lost posts

Just updated WordPress and what surprise did I get when visiting the site? The incredible disappearing act of a few posts! Oh well… Might be the time to start again. An early Spring cleaning so to say. Will be deleting some posts and will place a few new ones today and the upcoming week. Will try to explain why I haven’t posted anything lately or why I have trouble writing at the moment. This is not a small writers block, this is a freakin’ giant of a writers block. So, hang on tight. Things will be changing!

Building a life

It’s been a month since I moved into my new place. Only a month. Yet it feels more like a year. So many things happened. Good things and bad things. No one said it would be easy, most of all me. I knew it would be hard, I knew I would have moments where I felt like drowning. But I survived the first month.

With the start of the new year, it really feels like a new start. There are still a lot of things on my to do list. Most important of all is getting a job. The pressure is high and so are my worries. It isn’t easy getting a job these days. I am not the only one looking and I am certainly not the best. All I can do is keep trying. Sooner or later some company will realize what an asset I am. Until then I just need to do what I can to get by.

Another thing on my to do list is painting the stairs and I’m not looking forward to it. It’s a lot of work. First I need to sand it down, clean off all the glue from the carpet that used to be on it. Then I need to paint it. I already know the color scheme; black and white. It will be perfect and will fit in nicely with the black and white tiled floor in the hallway.

And last but not least… I really need to continue with my third book. Sometime this year, though. Writing it right now would just be too hard and too emotional. So, no rush. Just sometime this year.

These three points aren’t the only things I have on my to do list. But if I would discuss all of them with you, you would have a lot of reading to do. So for now, these are it. Although the first one is really determines when I will do the second and in a way the third. And to be honest also the rest of the points. I just need to get a job. I really do…