You’d think that a first pregnancy would be a fairly simple thing to conceal over the first few weeks of the 9-month odyssey. After all, there’s no baby bump in sight at week eight! How would anyone ever guess that there’s a blueberry-sized person inside any given pregnant woman, multiplying by 100 cells per minute?
Two words: morning sickness.
Or, as it should be named in some cases, forever sickness.
I don’t know how women do it. The struggle is real—and to be quite honest, awe inspiring.
When your partner is dealing with morning sickness, it can be easy to feel kind of powerless. But the good news is that there are, in fact, a number of ways you can help your partner as she battles her morning sickness, and does the herculean work of growing a baby.
Parters, here are six ways you can help ease your partner’s morning sickness discomfort:
1. Appreciate what she’s going through and listen with an open heart
Let her know that although you may not be able to relate directly, you appreciate what she is going through. Tell her she’s amazing, listen to her vent and be her emotional crutch if she needs one.
Google was invented for a reason. Search all of the potential remedies and see what you come up with.
For example, maybe she can eat something to settle her stomach before she gets out of bed in the morning. Present a morning buffet line of foods for her complete with saltines, celery and peanut butter, bread, bagels and more. Anticipate that a menu item that previously did the trick is deemed unworthy. (Don’t be discouraged! Keep trying different options.)
This is one of the most vital times outside of the delivery room when you, as the partner, can provide support during pregnancy—even if all you can do is rub her upset stomach or give her crushed ice, which really does help alleviate nausea.
3. Pack her snacks for the day
A care package of food for her morning commute can make her trip more bearable. It’s important for her to eat frequently throughout the day, so these snacks could be tremendously helpful.
She has a lot on her to-do list and is expending lots of energy trying not to puke in public. She’s taking one for the team in a BIG way—so anything you can do to be helpful, you should probably do.
4. Be empathetic
Understand that this is really hard for her. Continue to think of ways you can be helpful. Pay attention. And think about the way you respond to her when she vents about how gross she feels. Consider trying:
“I can see how uncomfortable you are, and I’m so sorry you don’t feel good.”
“Thank you for doing all this work for our baby.”
“I really appreciate you.”
5. Seek help from her medical provider
Let her know that it’s okay to seek medical help, and it doesn’t mean she is failing or weak.
And offer to accompany her to her appointment. If she’s super nauseas she’ll appreciate not needing to drive, plus having the extra emotional support is always an added value.
6. Be aware of how it’s helping you bond
The opportunity to step outside of your own needs and put your partner’s needs first will make your relationship stronger, and no doubt help prepare you for that glorious day when the new human she is working so singlehandedly to protect is finally out and about—and relying on you two for everything.
See if you can find the silver lining to the toughness of the situation—you will get through this, together.