I really appreciate your openness about this experience, Claire. While I have never been pregnant (yet! But I'm getting married in 2 short months ahh!), I'm no stranger to medical gaslighting or questions of why one person can go through a circumstance and be fine while others suffer. I've learned in the past few years to really advocate for myself with my healthcare, and yet, it's ultimately a crapshoot whether you'll actually be listened to no matter how firm, calm, etc etc you are.

I think most people really don't know how to walk with a friend in suffering, especially for pregnancy-related conditions, but I love the advice you give in this post, and I think it can be applied to most longer-term struggles. If I could add anything, it would be to keep checking in and offering to help. That consistency can be such a balm for a weary soul.

Expand full comment

Claire, thank you for using your voice to bring awareness to HG and the gaslighting women routinely experience (and have experienced for literal centuries) in healthcare. Learning about your experiences helps me better understand how complex it is to be open to life while grappling with the trauma of potential/impending HG.

I’m an OT in hospital based physical rehab so I typically work with older adults after strokes, heart surgeries, etc. Last summer we had a young woman in her 20s on our unit who also had HG. I won’t get into the details but both she and her baby were left with permanent physical and cognitive consequences as the result of poor care. She was on Medicaid (I’m in Illinois where Medicaid is actually better than in many states) and had the support of a great partner and her parents…but it just wasn’t enough as she was gaslit by her providers.

Pre-motherhood I used to scoff at the pro-choice argument that “pregnancy is not health neutral.” Of course they use it as a justification for abortion which I vehemently oppose. But now I know and accept the reality that pregnancy is indeed not health neutral, and we must fight for better healthcare. I feel pretty politically homeless when I talk about this sort of thing. I don’t necessarily think universal healthcare is the answer (Tricare, veterans healthcare run by the government, is a mess!) but what are conservatives doing to address this issue? Does anyone even care?

Thanks for giving me a space to share these ramblings. Be assured of my prayers for you, Claire!

Expand full comment

So true that bringing your sweet babies into the world despite the horrors of all. the. vomit. was the most pro-life thing you ever did! I loved your list of ways to help others going through similar things. But the intro to the list has put me in a place of pondering this morning. You wrote: "If you want to help a friend, sister, neighbor: you are such a kind soul. If you ask them what they need, they either don’t know or are going to quickly say “oh, nothing! I’m fine!! I’m so lucky to be pregnant!!!” So here is what you could do:"

In no way do I disagree with the kindness, the sentiment, the giving heart encouraged here. It brings up contrasting elements, though:

1. People (especially women) feeling like they're not allowed to be real (as in the "oh, nothing! I'm fine!! I'm so lucky to be pregnant!!!" example).

2. Taking what a fellow adult says as the truth: If a friend says "oh, nothing! I'm fine!!", I'm going to trust that she's good, and if she's not and would like the help I'm offering, she'd be honest and say that.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and life as usual. And there's sunshine in Wisconsin today...yay!

Expand full comment

Thanks for sharing...though what an awful experience for you.🥺 This did help me realize though that if I encounter a mom going through this... Setting up a Meal Train for the family could be a bigger help than I would have realized. Not knowing what triggers the vomiting (ie if odors were a problem) I probably wouldn't have offered a meal. Thank you for making me rethink this. ❤️🙏

Expand full comment