Morning Sickness

With my very first pregnancy I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis gravidarum. The medical definition: excessive vomiting in pregnancy. Hyper means "over"; emesis means "vomiting"; gravidarum means "pregnant state." My definition: excessive, severe, extreme, exhausting, continuous nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. I’ve had severe morning sickness with all seven of my healthy children and with one that died at three months prenatal.

Throwing up throughout the morning, afternoon and evening was exhausting. I was admitted to the hospital several times for dehydration. I was hungry, but not able to eat; thirsty but unable to drink. I was so miserable from nausea one time that I cried out to God to not live! I’m glad he didn’t say yes to that prayer!

Despite the misery and challenges each pregnancy brings, every time I see the blessing of a new precious child being born, all my suffering is momentarily forgotten. I can even say, “Let’s do it again.” I don’t like labor and morning sickness is ten times worse, but for the rest of my life, I experience infinitely greater rewards and joy from being around my children.

During the last few pregnancies, I have been blessed to have some godly women look after me. This hasn’t always been the case. When I was pregnant for the first time, we moved to a small town where I didn’t know anyone. It was during this time I started formulating a “How to Help” list. I’ve added to it over the years as I’ve experienced different situations. Here are a few things I have learned:


1. Help with the duties and responsibilities that she is unable to do. Offer to do specific jobs--meals for her family, laundry, dishes, childcare, or the bathroom.
2. Give her a card of encouragement. A small token of kindness can go a long way to encourage her.

3. If talking with someone is a good distraction for her, call or visit her often. The days and nights go by very slowly.

4. Send flowers or something pretty to look at. Beautiful things can be uplifting to see, especially if she is grounded to one part of the house for most of the day.

5. Read to her. Write her a poem. Sing, if she wants you to. It’s nice for her to know that she is remembered as she feels the world is going on without her.

6. Be aware. Her nose is extremely sensitive. Don't come near her if you have the slightest scent of cologne, aftershave, perfume, fabric softener, smoke, etc. on you. 

7.  Use encouraging words and tender comments. Pray with her. This can be an emotionally trying experience and all conversations need to be optimistic, focusing on the positive.

8.  Humor can be a welcome addition to her day. A funny book, movie, or even a joke may bring a smile. Making her laugh can be a much needed relief.

9. Be supportive. Even though you cannot truly relate (it's real and miserable) try to understand how she feels! Let her cry.

10. Change her bedding, towels, throw-up bowl. I know it may be gross! But...if you want to know how to help!

Yosemite National Park, California, USA
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Kevin and Wendy Shaw are blessed with seven children, Chase (13), Holly (11), Macy (9), Justus (6), Elley (4), Amy (2,) and Lilly (6 weeks).

If you are suffering from morning sickness or would like to help those who are, check out Wendy's website:


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