Thank you so much for your lovely response to last week’s post – adoption is a fascinating topic and I loved learning more about it. Another great topic this week from Emma (aka “Emetomum”) about a phobia that is more common than you might think.
This is my very first guest post and I am excited to write for the lovely Laura at Butterfly Mother! Although the topic of the post isn’t one which is overly exciting – in my opinion. I will essentially write about vomiting and the challenges it throws up (haha, ok sorry) day to day. When tasked with writing something along the lines of “parenting challenges”, my insta-thought was “vomiting”. You’ve probably heard of claustrophobia and arachnophobia but have you heard of emetophobia? I know, I know, these phobias have some whacky names don’t they! But EMETOphobia actually means a fear of vomiting. The emet part relates to emesis, a word which means the act or process of vomiting. And emetophobia presents itself in many forms. The sufferer may be mainly fearful of themselves vomiting or they may only be fearful of others vomiting. If you aren’t aware of this phobia, your initial thought is probably “but no one LIKES being sick!” and I know this haha. But emetophobia is more than a dislike to vomiting. It rules your whole life. I am mainly scared of myself being sick but I am also scared of others, especially if I know it could be a bug or something “catchy”. As you can imagine, this brings quite a lot of worries and woes for a mummy-emetophobe! I will share with you a few of the things that this phobia impacts in terms of being a mum. Fortunately I was able to push through my pregnancy anxieties to even have a baby, and for that I am forever grateful and happy.
Deciding to have a baby. This is something I ummed and ahhed about for literally years. I’d pretty much said to myself that I would never have children because of the phobia and having kids just wasn’t “for me”. I knew deep down that I’d at least like the option, to make a decision that wasn’t purely based on what the phobia dictates. Fortunately I was in a good place mentally when deciding to try for a baby. A combination of therapy and medication helped me a lot.
Finding out I was pregnant. I remember the day like it was yesterday, purely because I knew from the moment I had a positive test, I’d feel insta-sick. The power of the mind hey. I was so anxious that on the evening, I made myself ill. I didn’t vomit but I felt awful and ended up with some sort of flu virus for a few days.
Pregnancy. Pregnancy was really tough for me purely because of the anxiety every day that I might vomit. Otherwise my pregnancy was very textbook. A few friends commented that it was “easy” and I had nothing to “worry” about. But being emetophobic means that being pregnant is far from easy at all. I vomited once and that was difficult enough. It resulted in me losing a lot of weight, not eating properly and spending many weeks being overly anxious.
Birth. Because of the phobia, I had extensive meetings with midwives, consultants and anaesthetists. I also saw an NHS cognitive behavioural specialist through the duration of my pregnancy. I very much wanted a controlled birth experience which would hopefully result in the least anxiety for me. For that reason, I had a planned caesarean. I got a lot of crap from various people about this decision – I was giving in, I was being weak, I was too posh to push, I didn’t understand the full extent of a c-section and even my dad told me that it seemed things were too easy and planned these days for women (wtf). The reality was far from any opinions people had. I’d done so much research in to the pros and cons of each option and I really made sure I was making an informed decision – not just because I assumed a c-section would be the easier option. It was far from easy that was for sure. But it was very controlled, very calm and there was minimal panic. The experience was much better than I ever imagined. I do have a couple of regrets though. I regret not seeing my baby straight after birth. I was really anxious the sight of the blood might make me feel nauseas and ultimately I’d vomit. I also regret not just thinking about my new baby. All I could focus on was “is it all over and what if I vomit still”. I was also very fearful of other women on the ward vomiting –what I’ve I heard them being sick? I had requested a private room (and would have paid) but they had none available. When I transferred to our local maternity unit the next day, the ward was empty and it was just me for a few days.
Early Days. The early days were very much up and down. As any new parent will probably agree, you are all over the place. My biggest fear though was not sleep or breastfeeding or recovery. I was worried about how I would cope with my baby vomiting. I am pleased to say that the baby “spit up” was something I got used to very quickly haha. And even when my boy was six months old and projectile vomited milk everywhere one night, I was there for him and it was ok. I was ok. He was ok. I was being a mum.
Weaning. When we first started weaning our son, my first thought was that the vomit will now start to get chunky. More like adult vomit. It did but it hasn’t been as awful as I’d had it in my head. My husband has been amazing. He has always known the score. Little man always seems to vomit if he has a bad cough, so a lot of times I’ve been sure it has happened through coughing. Knowing it isn’t a bug definitely helps with dealing with things after a vomit episode.
Toddler Years. We have just gotten to 3 and on the whole I think I’ve done amazingly well coping with any vomit episodes. There have been tough times and the pregnancy and birth were hard but I got through it and I have such a wonderful boy to show for it. It has certainly been worth the anxiety and worry!
So there, a snapshot into life as a vomit phobic mummy. I know there will be super hard times to come but I also know that I can get through it. I have to for my son now. He literally means the world to me because I really thought I’d never be able to go through pregnancy to have him. But we are here now – and I’m much happier because he is in my life 🙂
I’m so grateful to Emma for sharing so openly about this. Although I don’t have emetophobia I know very well how damaging anxiety is in general, and I know lots of people who do have this phobia. It’s great that Emma is opening people’s minds with her story. For more from Emma hop over to her blog or find her on Twitter.
20 comments on “Being A Mum With Emetophobia – Guest Post by Emetomum”
I have never heard of this kind of phobia before and I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like.
Pregnancy and motherhood is hard enough without having a phobia but it sounds like you are doing great!
Thank you for sharing your story, I have definitely learnt something new today.
Wow! Bringing a child into your life when you know how hard you find this particular subject is incredibly brave. Well done for getting through it the way you have so far! #marvmondays
As you say, everyone hates vomiting, but that’s what makes it easy to see that having a phobia of it is completely understandable. I know a couple of people with a fear of vomiting and it just must be so so difficult, it seems to affect every aspect of life (as phobias do I suppose). It’s lovely that you’ve still managed to have a little one and have got through the worst of it and come out the other side! Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Kaye xo
I know how hard it is to be scared of something while being pregnant. With mine its the fear that I will lose my baby. I was told that I am too old to be pregnant and teh chance of me losing my baby is high so I am grateful to wake up to the fact that my baby is still in my tummy but the fear is just hunting. #twinklytuesday
Merlinda Little ( @pixiedusk) recently posted…Summer Finally
I have never heard of this but thank you for sharing. It must have been a tough time for you and I can’t imagine what you must have gone through. Lovely to read that you know that get through it for your son and you will. Thanks again for sharing and opening up about this issue. #bigpinklink
Agent Spitback recently posted…The Care of Tweens and Other Magical Creatures
Goodness me, I have never heard of this kind of phobia and I can only imagine how terrifying it must have been for you during pregnancy and the early weeks of being a mother in particular. Cygnet was always quite a sicky child and would regularly be sick after feeding as a young baby. I can’t remember the last time he was sick so we have really turned a corner but I cannot imagine how difficult this must have been for you. Well done for getting through it. Pen x
Pen recently posted…Recovering from my Brexit depression
Me too! never heard of this phobia before. we learn something new daily (sometimes I wonder how this phobia plays out with morning sickness…)
Samoina (@Samoina) recently posted…This is what I wish I knew while I was pregnant.
Sorry, I came here from #thetruthabout
Pen recently posted…Recovering from my Brexit depression
Gotta love how your blog brings to light the different struggles that parents face (some of which we may never have known…)
Thanks, Hun. That was definitely the aim of this series and I’ve been overwhelmed by the wonderful submissions xx
Really interesting stuff, thanks for sharing. And sounds like you have overcome some massive hurdles around your phobia just to become a Mum. Like Hayleigh said, motherhood is hard enough as it is! #bigpinklink
Gretel – @gretelingham recently posted…The vegetarian and the chicken soup
This must be such an awful and stressful thing to deal with, as you said, no one likes being sick and the kids being sick is not fun, but I can’t imagine dealing with it if I had a phobia about it too. It sounds like you’re doing so well taking each new stage as it comes x #thetruthabout
Sara | mumturnedmom recently posted…On writing and feeling lost
Thank you for sharing with #MarvMondays I had no idea this existed let alone how someone would deal with it.
Helena recently posted…What Our Toddler Eats
I’ve heard of this phobia but never read about the impact on pregnancy, birth and motherhood. It must be tough. Well done for coping so well. xx #thetruthabout
I’ve heard of this phobia too – also in the context of someone having to face their fears with pregnancy and parenthood in general. I can’t imagine it must be a life of some anxiety but it sounds like Emma is making enormous steps forward in coping and sometimes parenthood forces us to face all sorts of fears. Thanks so much for linking up to #thetruthabout Laura X
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This is so interesting- I never knew it even existed! Zach was such a sicky baby that I was often covered in it! Really interestingly too, I was really sick after my csection. I vomited 6 times in the aftermath!! I’m glad that this has got easier over the 3 years that she’s been a mummy – it can’t have been an easy decision. Thanks for linking up with #TwinklyTuesday
Lisa (mummascribbles) recently posted…Bear with your pre-schoolers – they really are taking it all in
Loved you post! As a fellow emet and mother of almost 2 year old I remember every single emotion went through. I also share in the same day to day anxiety. We have survived 2 stomach viruses and with my son in daycare I know that they will happen again! I have learned to take life one day at a time and each day we need to be thankful that we are able to create such beautiful tiny humans who have the ability to get sick but also to get well again.
wow what amazing comments 🙂 i’ve only just checked back and just want to thank everyone for being so lovely and supportive 🙂 xx
A wonderful post, really honest and heartfelt. I have this phobia as well, though as a man the pregnancy aspect was different. I did think about it a lot though, would I be there for my wife if she got morning sickness? What about the enevitable vomiting bugs? I am glad we did have a child, because she is the most precious thing. And I didn’t want the phobia to win.