Sick and tired of my hyperemesis gravidarum posts? ok, ok ..but here is one you just have to read...
So, Your Wife Is Barfing Her Guts Out:
A Guy’s Guide to Hyperemesis Gravidarum
by Brad Klingele
A Guy’s Guide to Hyperemesis Gravidarum
by Brad Klingele
I am the proud dad of seven kids, all of whom were given the gift of life through my wife’s hyperemetic torments. Yes, she did want the kids, and so I wasn’t a jerk on this account. However, I have, shall we say, incrementally improved from being what I thought was supportive to being supportive in her eyes. Thank God I had six kids to better my record!
Following is a bullet-point approach to supporting your spouse from a very “guy’s guy” perspective. This is blunt and unapologetic, because you probably are tired and –like me—want to spend very little time reading up on how to be a dad, husband, etc., because you are in the midst of insanity.
1. Honor any and all food requests.
I am a cheap German. If you are either a cheap German, or fiscally frugal (or even fiscally moderate), get over it. This is going to cost you big time in gas, food, and other seemingly incoherent and random requests.
Suck it up. Just do what she says, when she says, and do it with a loving tone, smile, and say, “I’m so grateful for what you are doing for our baby!” Think of it this way: going into a bit of credit card debt by getting random things at random times is way cheaper than marriage counseling later. Go get whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and be prepared for the reality that when you get back, she may not want it! Get over yourself and keep thinking “she won’t be insane forever, and neither will I.”
If you help her now, your wife will remember how good you were to her and feel very close to you someday again. Conversely, if you apply fiscal logic or any logic at all to her requests and hesitate, she will feel abandoned and protective and defensive and angry (not to mention hungry).
2. Do not question.
If you apply logic, you will be frustrated. This is not because your wife is objectively illogical: her requests seem illogical to you because you aren’t going through this. Your stomach is not churning at thoughts, smells, ideas, and whatever else comes at you. You aren’t scared of what is happening to your own body. You aren’t helpless and needing someone to take care of you. You aren’t being prodded by doctors and nurses and morons and being “crackered” (see below). You aren’t exhausted, nauseous, and sleep deprived.
3. Do chores (or delegate).
Chores are all on you now, buddy. Let her chill and be—by outside standards—completely, unproductively useless. (In fact, she’s producing a whole new person!)
If you have funds, suck it up and get cleaning help a few times a week. In this situation, prudence is saving your energy for being really kind and patient with your spouse. She is worth the stretch, and so is your marriage.
If you don’t have funds, look up how to clean on the internet. A few tips: declutter and just keep cleaning every second that you can. Wash dishes as you cook—don’t let them pile up. Better yet, go buy yourself food from elsewhere, because cooking just smells up the house & that brings the barf train back. If you must cook, be prepared to prepare your food out of sight. Cereal, peanut butter & jelly, fruits & raw veggies are going to be your friend for a while, most likely.
4. Stay clean.
Seems obvious, but the smell of husband is a sure-fire trigger for many women. Shower often and brush your teeth a lot so your breath doesn’t stink any more than necessary.
5. Forget about sex. No, really.
This is not happening, period. Yes, it stinks. What do you do? Avoid going online alone. Really. This is a time when you may be tempted, because at one time you were actually having sex, and now you have just quit cold turkey. Instead, regularly call and get together with a few of your guy friends –even just at your house for beers. Keep up your friendships so that you aren’t sexually frustrated, exhausted, and lonely–the perfect recipe for getting into porn or being overly flirtatious at the office.
6. You can’t fix it.
Most guys want to fix things. You cannot fix this. The closest that you will get to “fixing” things is to do what your wife tells you when she tells you how she tells you and with a big freaking smile on your tired face.
7. Be on her side.
If you are kind of a non-confrontational peacemaker, be prepared to be uncomfortable when stupid doctors and nurses question the severity of your wife’s sickness. You gotta man up.
First, research the heck out of hyperemesis gravidarum. See the website www.helpher.org for great tips.
Second, be firmly firm and don’t let doctors or nurses do the following:
• “Cracker” her by telling your wife that she should eat small amounts of crackers, or drink ginger ale, or smell lemons. The cracker-er is an idiot, or at least an uninformed medical person (a functional idiot).
|Made with <3 for my HG sisters
• Tell her it’s in her head. This deserves a thorough firm dressing down in the following way: “I used to think so too, but that theory is actually a thing of the past. A good deal of research has been done of late on this. Please see the sheet I have here with all of the resources & journal references.” (Hand them a print-out from the American Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics at http://www.apgo.org/images/nvp/nvp_monograph.pdf or from the research section of http://www.helpher.org/HER-Research/) If they persist, ask for a new doctor or nurse to be assigned and, if needed, file a formal complaint against them.
• Give your wife cheap or inadequate meds. Zofran is the master. Generic Zofran sometimes works, but sometimes doesn’t.
8. Indulge in a little self-pity—just not in front of her!
You need guy friends who will listen to you complain and moan, so that you aren’t alone, and your wife won’t have to listen to you complain and moan. You can support her without asking for her support. This is vital. She cannot support you emotionally, and no matter what kind of Vulcan you are, you have emotional needs, felt or not. You may feel really put out and tired and think, “What a rip-off. My once attractive sexy wife is tired, cranky, demanding weird foods, complaining of smells and lights and whatever else, and I am supposed to take care of everything and also these food requests are really expensive and random and seem to occur at the exact wrong time!” Fine. Vent to your guy friends, not to her.
9. Find meaning in your suffering.
For those who are Christian, remember that marriage is not a contract. You are acting out Christ’s love. That means a cross is involved. You probably feel crucified to your needs and desires. Your wife sure feels that way. Lean on the prayers of friends. As much as possible, pray yourself and ask for strength to resist the temptation to give in to self-pity and grumpiness.
10. Know that it will end.
The army has a great phrase for this: “Embrace the suck.” You will get through this in nine months or less (or a bit longer if your wife has a difficult recovery). That sounds like a long time, but if you set your expectations low, you will either be happily surprised or at least realistically prepared.
You are going to have an awesome new person in your life. Your wife will be very grateful—even really turned on, eventually—if you take care of yourself and take care of them without objection or complaint, and with joy and expressed empathy (even when you don’t feel particularly empathetic). If you stick it out, your marriage will be really strong. (And conversely, very damaged if you don’t.)
Feel free to contact me to whine: firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Thanks to Brad and Cecelia for putting this together and willingly allowing me to post it.