Morning Sickness Blues and How to Cope

Posted by  | Tuesday, April 5, 2011  at 2:59 PM  
A friend of mine, Joy Price, who is pregnant with her second child, wrote a great blog post about dealing with morning sickness. I wish that I had read this while I was pregnant with Eleanor! Joy graciously agreed to allow me to reprint her post here (you should check out her blog, as she has more ideas for how to minister to friends in the throes of morning sickness and other illness).

From Joy:

1.If you currently are not pregnant/not experiencing nausea symptoms, consider reading this post and helping out your friend(s) who are nauseated. Perhaps share this post in an encouraging email, pray for them in this trial, and act on these points to help them in their time of need (don’t just offer, go ahead and do it!).
2.Cry out to Jesus- “Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces perserverance” says James in his first chapter. Allow this time of weariness to be a time of spiritual healing. Focus on encouraging verses (like Philippians 4) and train your mind to focus on having a thankful heart instead of complaining and becoming depressed. Be honest and vulnerable to Jesus at your low points and then ask Him for strength that He alone can give you to perform the next task (laundry, a shower, or even just sitting up in bed). Give yourself loads of grace- this is not a time to conform to high expectations. It is OK if your family lives off of hotdogs and frozen pizza for 8 weeks, it is just a season that is not indicative of your identity as a wife and a mother- find your identity in Christ and Him alone.
3.I often felt bad for allowing Augustine to watch so many movies, or have all day (just kidding, but kinda… not really) independent time. This was not the mother I wanted to be/nor had been in the past. And it is just a season that will pass, it is OK to set aside high expectations and live in grace. One friend encouraged me by saying, “You are giving your child the greatest blessing you could possibly give him: a playmate for life, a friend, a sibling”. Focus on the truth of scripture for who you are (a child of God, a daughter of the King) rather than finding your worth in how you look or in your accomplishments. Invite your child to read his favorite books with you in the bed. Invite them to eat saltines with you (though Augustine was notorious for eating all my snacks and leaving none for me!). Purchase children movies/shows that will encourage you spiritually as well as them. Invite them to play in the bathtub for a longer period of time (or allow them to take two baths a day) and sit beside the tub and relax in their laughter. Listen to scripture set to music with them (the SEEDS cds, or Dana Dirksen’s Catchecism Songs) as it will refresh your soul. Ask your friends for other creative ways to entertain them in ways that will not drain you. In your weariness, ask the Lord for help.
4.Consider hiring a nanny, someone to clean your house, or someone to make your meals (pizza hut delivery boys do count!). If this is not financially feasible, then allow yourself to be vulnerable before the body of Christ and ask for help. Be specific as to what you truly need and do not allow yourself to “beat around the bush” or be a “people-pleaser”. You could say something as simply as: “I am truly not feeling well due to the nausea symptoms of pregnancy, my family could use a meal if you are able to bless us in that way”. Humility is a good character trait, and it is good to realize that you do not have it altogether. The sooner we as Christians can realize our imperfections, we will become more attune to our need for a perfect Saviour- which is at the heart of the gospel.
5.Get outside. Even if it is just a walk to your mailbox, the fresh air will literally make you feel better than lying in the same fumes of your bed all day. Encourage your husband to keep you accountable in this regard. Often when I was at my lowest, Shaun graciously “forced” me outside. Though I didn’t feel like it at the time, it was always so much better to my physical state once I was out of the house. Plan to attend playgroups, or short trips to places to keep yourself accountable to getting outside. Do not burden yourself with activities, but do give yourself opportunities to get out of the “sick spots” of your home. This is another way to be vulnerable with your friends- tell them of your need to get out of the house, and then follow up on their invitations for outings. It is OK, if you have to excuse yourself to the bathroom for nausea, they will forgive you.
6.I personally found that this brief season is not the time to have guests over. Talk with your husband about what is best for the both of you, and perhaps suggest that for this time you will invite people to go out to a restaurant (McDonalds is ok if you are on a budget) or a park for a picnic. This way you will not have to focus on having a clean house or cooking when physically these tasks can be draining.
7.Communicate clearly and lovingly with your husband. It is easy to be short with your husband or play the victim role since he is not experiencing the same symptoms as you. However, he is taking on roles of husband, provider, daddy, mommy, grocery shopper, meal preparation duty, house cleaner, children entertainer, and possibly many other chores. Praise him for his acts of service to you in your time of need. When it is a good time for him, consider writing down what tasks would be helpful to you that he might be able to tackle. Remember to focus on your needs, not your desires as this can be an overwhelmingly exhaustive time for him too. Pray for him, that the Lord would be his fulfillment, as he completes these tasks. Give him grace in your speech and actions when he makes you breakfast but leaves the kitchen a mess. A man is much more apt to do more actions from your encouragement than from your criticism. Thank him for allowing you to be a mother, and assure him of your gratitude for the opportunity to have a child. Sometimes, it is harder for a man to cope without a solution to your problems than it would be for him to be nauseated himself. Men like to meet our needs, be sure to thank him for all his efforts to provide for you. It is OK to smile and laugh. Shaun and I spent many evenings watching youtube videos entitled “Just for laughs” (careful, some are not appropriate) a british spin-off of candid camera. It was good for our marriage to enjoy laughing together when I could not muster the energy to go on dates like we were accustomed to.
8.Find out what makes you comfortable and pursue it. For me personally, I enjoyed clean scented candles, fresh flowers (at least something looked alive in our house, eh?), a warm bubble bath (possibly every night), a hot drink, a massage from Shaun, classical music (Chopin, “For Relaxation” is a personal favorite). These pursuits often took my mind away from the nausea I was experiencing.
9.Drink Tea! Many teas are avaliable with digestive aid as apart of their description. I enjoyed peppermint, or lemon and ginger.
10.Consider talking to your doctor about taking medicine. It is usually best to take these types of pills right before bedtime as they tend to have a drowsy side effect. Sea Bands are helpful for some, but make sure you look up online the correct place to wear them or they will not work. Sometimes wearing one band instead of two works just as effectively. [a word of caution: the sea bands do not work for everyone]
11.Relish in comfort foods. I loved mashed potatoes and could stomach eating them more than other non-comfort foods. One website listed below suggests these other options: Chicken Noodle Soup, Chicken brocolli rice casserole, Cream of wheat (made one bowl at a time in the microwave), Wild rice casserole, Banana cream pie, Homemade-warm-from-the-oven bread with butter, etc; Favorites from local restaurants: Cheddar cheese bagels with cream cheese, Cheese mix sandwiches at the sub shop, Dominos or Pizza Hut.
12.It has also been suggested that sour foods (lemonade, dill pickles, sour candies) and protein (meat, beans, peanut butter, cheese) are great for helping nausea relief.
13.Eat often and have snacks with you everywhere you go. It is also nice to keep snacks by the bedside table and eat when you get up to use the bathroom at night. It is easier for your stomach to handle the surge of hormones (at any given time they occur) with some food on your stomach than without. I discovered that eating breakfast in bed (sometimes even eating something before I sat up in bed) was particularly helpful for relief.
14.Call your mother and thank her for birthing you. It will bless her, and she can probably offer some compassion, encouragement, and a meal/babysitting if she lives close by.
15.Focus on others who might be experiencing similar long-winded symptoms but do not have the hope of it ending (or having a baby at the end). Cancer patients, elderly, hospitalized friends are also experiencing similar trials but many are concerned about whether or not they will literally survive, not which week of pregnancy their symptoms may subside. Pray for them when you are experiencing a low day. Write them a card. Visit them in the hospital or give them a call on the phone. It is always good for our souls to keep our eyes off ourselves.
16.Keep an eternal perspective. Praise the Lord that this is such a small amount of suffering in the grand scheme of eternity and praise Him for giving you the opportunity to birth a child (as there are so MANY women who would love to be given the opportunity to have a child but cannot due to infertility [this is another reason to put a stem to our complaining as we never know who is listening]). Look at cute baby clothes online or the infant pictures of your other children. Pray for the child in your womb as you feel low. Make a fun “to-do” list of things you want to do for or with your new child once you get back on your feet (nursery colors, double strollers, matching outfits for daddy and son, etc).
17.Take opportunities to sleep more often. When your other children go down for naptime- so does mommy! Often I discovered I was more nauseated when I was exhausted then when I had plenty of sleep.
18.Ask for prayer from your friends, small group, or sunday school class.
19.Take heart! If you need someone to pray for you, feel free to send me an email and I would be delighted! (see contact me section at the top of the page)
20.Finally, Here are a few blogs that might help you gain some more information on coping with nausea and much of the information I have listed above is indebted to the following website(s):
-http://www.passionatehomemaking.com/2010/10/natural-morning-sickness-remedies.html
this blogpost is a helpful resource for natural remedies and the comments are also encouraging.
-http://faithfulhomemaking.blogspot.com/search/label/Morning-Noon-Night%20Sickness
this is really encouraging blogpost for the spiritual side of coping with nausea. The further you scroll down you will notice there is a whole series on morning sickness.
-http://www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/id101.html
I haven’t read this in depth, but basically, consider taking vitamin B (can get at a local pharmacy) and supplementing with ginger (like ginger ale or ginger tea)- to help aid nausea relief.

Hope this helps!

The original article can be found here.

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