How to Survive Christmas with Hyperemesis

Even without Hyperemesis I don’t think our family would represent this picture at Christmas time (cue the 1 millionth “Has Santa been yet?”) but at least this year it will be possible for me to sit near a Christmas tree and have lights shining on my face without throwing up.

Christmas with Hyperemesis is hard and whilst there might be some breathing space in terms of more than 2 households descending on yours right now being illegal, the fact is that it is a double edge sword. If you are in Tier 4 then you will be spending Christmas with just your household and that means the childcare could be resting solely on you or your partner (although if you have a childcare bubble in place already this can continue).If you are in Tier 3 and lower there maybe the expectation that you can still host Christmas and you don’t want to let family down.

Here are some tips to get you through:

Prepare: The best thing you can do to for yourself for the Holidays is to mentally prepare yourself for the Holidays. Remember your guilt is lying to you! Thoughts are not facts! Do not beat yourself up over the fact that you are operating on zero and have pretty much zero to give and if you have children already that is a really tough pill to swallow (excuse the pun).

They will not remember this time. But they will be high on adrenaline and excitement waiting for the big man to arrive which can be testing when you are suffering and running out to be sick every 10 minutes. So mentally forgive yourself for not being 100% there for them for a few days.

Routine: If you have a good thing going right now with safe foods, adequate rest and downtime and you have worked out what your triggers are don’t deviate from them. I know how badly you want to join in and enjoy the Christmas food, but try to stick to what has been working for you. If you don’t it could set you back days and no one wants you to be going backwards when you have achieved so much to get to where you are now.

Fluids: Speak to your GP, OBGYN or Medical Professionals now and get confirmation of how you can get IV fluids over the holiday period. If you have been relying on referrals from your Doctors to get access then see if you can speak to your Early Pregnancy Unit directly and have something in place to make sure that you are not struggling to get fluids over the Holiday period.

Food: If you can take advantage of someone else cooking and bringing the food to your house, do it. Food smells are very triggering, but if you can avoid having to use your own oven that could help limit your exposure to them.

If you can’t have people visit this year then make a pact with your partner, this year is a cold buffet lunch. Your children will love it! No vegetables to cook, cold sausage rolls, cut meats, crisps and bread rolls. Think children’s party at Christmas and you can’t go wrong. Don’t put the stress of a hot cooked Christmas dinner with all the trimmings on your plate. The kids can do without brussel sprouts for one year.

Unhelpful comments: If you do have family coming that haven’t seen you for a while, haven’t seen you suffering or worse believe that you are just suffering from morning sickness, you are going to need some ammunition. Repeat after me “Thank you for your concern. I wish I did have morning sickness. Very sadly, I do not. I have been diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum a genetic condition that is characterized by extreme nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. There is now cure. I am medicated and receiving IV fluids to manage my severe dehydration. You’re welcome to ask me how you can help during this time….”

Sick – The Battle Against HG is now available on Prime Video in the UK and the US and is a great resource to help friends and family to understand what you are going through.

The online HG Community is always a great place to vent and to express your frustrations over the Holiday period too, and will help you to remember that you are not alone.

For more help and resources please visit http://www.thesickfilm.co.uk.

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