الجمعة، 2 سبتمبر، 2011

Emetophobia and Pregnancy: Fear of Vomiting Meets Morning Sickness

What Happens when and Emetophobe Gets Pregnant

The morning that I found out I was pregnant should have been the happiest day of my life. I was two days late, and feeling a little "off." I had only been married for five months and was not planning on starting a family for a few more years. I went in the bathroom and took a pregnancy test to prove to myself I wasn't pregnant. I thought my nausea was a psychosomatic illness, not an actual pregnancy. I peed on the stick and it was positive.

I had always wanted children, heck I told my husband I wanted five children. I should be crying tears of joy right now, but my head was spinning, my heart went into overdrive, and I couldn't breathe. Why? I suffer from Emetophobia, the fear of vomit and vomiting. In my mind pregnancy equaled, well, morning sickness and we all know what morning sickness equals. I had heard horror stories from girlfriends of constant vomiting, not being able to keep anything down, and of not being able to control when and where it happened. I couldn't have that happen to me. I couldn't vomit, I simply couldn't.

When you have emetophobia you live in constant fear of getting sick, and in a lot of cases you do whatever you can to avoid anything that could possibly make you throw-up. A lot of emetophobes can not even watch someone on television getting sick. When you are pregnant, you can't help but be sick. Yes there are the cases of women flying through pregnancy without so much as a hiccup, but I was convinced that it was not going to be me.So when that pregnancy test came back positive, I thought I was going to die, quite literally. I thought that I would have a nine month long panic attack, and my body would just give out. I could not stop crying, and was barely able to stop hyperventilating. My husband rushed to my side to see what was wrong. He hugged me tightly and told me that it was good news, that we were going to be a family. I just looked at him and said, "but I an afraid I will throw up."

To have a fear that completely overtakes your life is hard enough, when it ruins what should be the best day of your life it is down right brutal. I knew I had to do something. I couldn't get through my pregnancy like this. I ran to my bedroom and looked for my bottle of compazine. At the height of my illness I carried a full bottle of the stuff around with me at all times just in case I needed to take it to prevent vomiting. The bottle had expired three years prior, and I didn't even know if it would be safe for the baby anyway. I was lost. How could I stop myself from throwing up, how could I get through this pregnancy.

 

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My husband didn't know what to do with me so he went with the standard and told me to take several deep breathes. I did and slowly came out of my hysterical panic attack. I began to embrace reality. I knew that this was something that I had to think about logically, that yes I was pregnant, but that did not mean the entire nine months would be spend bowing to the porcelain god. I would get through this, and in the end, not only would I be stronger and better at conquering this fear, but I would have a beautiful baby.

I was pregnant and I had a human life growing inside of me. What a miraculous, beautiful event. This is what I have always wanted, what I prayed for, I was blessed with a child. Once I got my focus back I could breath again. my heart slowed down and I was ready to be rational. Not every women suffers from morning sickness, and maybe I would be one of the lucky ones who didn't. Maybe if I did get morning sickness it would help me get over this phobia. this could be just the thing to kick this phobia in the butt. This baby could in the end cure me of this phobia that I had held so tightly too since I was six years old.

I am happy to report that once the initial panic came and went I was fine. I didn't sail through all nine months of pregnancy, but no one does. I sought out help and found a great therapist who practiced cognitive behavioral therapy. I realized that the vomit wasn't the source of my problem, but rather it just triggered the panic and the panic was the real problem. I did get sick, once, and survived the whole ordeal without going into any sort of panic attack. i just got sick, and moved on. I am in no way cured, but I am working on it. My baby was in November. She was happy and healthy, and so far phobia free.

 

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