Sympathy? Morning Sickness Problem

Updated on January 11, 2013
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
18 answers

I only had really bad morning sickness with my second pregnancy. I would throw up multiple times throughout the day, etc. but it mostly went away by week 20. A member of my co-op has terrible morning sickness, and she is about 32 weeks pregnant. Since we are trying to run a co-op, this means that members have responsibilities and commitments. This member is always just letting us know an hour or so before co-op that is she too sick to make it, and she does nothing to get her materials to us.

Question: anyone suffer from such terrible morning sickness and have a job? How did you do it? A part of me wants to be sympathetic to her problem, but when I had morning sickness with my son, I would just throw up and get on with my day. I had responsibilities, end of story. I'm really torn about how to approach this. Is morning sickness a good enough excuse to be
non-functioning" or is this woman a wimp? I hate to put it like that, but lots of women work with terrible morning sickness, right? or am I wrong here?

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So What Happened?

I know all about continual nausea. In fact, the first trimester with my 1st and 3rd pregnancies were terrible. It was every day, all day long, until about 18 weeks. I get feeling sick. I also get throwing up. Not into the third trimester, mind you, but I have been being very sympathetic to her, and I still am.

However, I highly doubt that she has that condition. Last time I saw her she looked great. She didn't look sick at all, this was about 3 weeks ago. If she was under medical care, I would hope she would tell all of us, and I would think one of us would know!

What has me bothered is her hour notice that she won't make it, and her lack of concern for how this impacts the group. I asked her what I could do to help, but she didn't respond. I will try again.

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answers from Dallas on

There are different degrees or "morning sickness". Many women only experiance it to a small degree and can function there are others that can not. I did not have morning sickness with my oldest as my boss called mine "All Day Sickness" she started shortly before I found out I was expecting. So didn't know my attendance pattern. Then I was out of work for a week I was so sick I could not function. When I was at work I was throwing up in almost every trash can that was near by. That's when she discovered I was not just being lazy. I was sick from before I found out till the day I gave birth with him. It was so bad that I was admitted to the hospital at least 5 times throughout my pregnancy. So yes morning sickness can cause you to not be able to function and she probably tried to do her best to do what she can and it may not be till she contacts you that she realizes she just can't do it.

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answers from Chicago on

Sounds like she needs to work around it...I had morning sickness with all three of mine...worked fulltime and had all the same responsibilities. Sorry to say but she needs to be help accountable and work through it.

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answers from Chicago on

My sister in law is 15 weeks pregnant. She was diagnosed with whatever Duchess Kate has. She vomits at least 50 times a day, yesterday it was 35 times before noon. She was also hospitalized for severe hydration. She works full time but had to take a leave of absence. She attempted to go back to work monday but was sent home by the afternoon cause she was too sick.

My SIL is not a wimp. In fact she is the toughest girl I have ever met. I have never seen her in so much pain.

Whether or not she is a 'wimp' is none of your business. Just get together with the other woman and split up her duties. Be kind!!!!!!!!!!!

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answers from San Antonio on

My last pregnancy I had hyperemesis gravidarum. I hated it when people would respond with "You just have morning sickness, suck it up." Oh trust me, I've had morning sickness before and I did just suck it up...but when you've been vomiting every hour several times an hour and you can't keep water down, then others need to be more forgiving. I had a standing appointment with the doctor to get IV nourishment every day. The nurse came to the house, hooked me up and made sure I was hydrated and the baby was getting what it needed.

You might think she just has morning sickness, but perhaps she has this extreme form of morning sickness, and she's trying to hide it from you. Remember, not every pregnancy is the same...and neither is everyone's morning sickness.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Wait I am a little upset about most of the posters reactions. I have read this question many times. She is NOT looking to give this woman a hard time, and you all are making her out to be a insensitive monster. She is not being one, As a member of a Co-op she has given this woman a very long time to come clean with her illness (32 weeks) as a pregnant mother in fear of losing a job the least she can do is come out with the fact she has a severe illness, which in fact if its valid would gain her more sympathy from co-workers than just calling in too sick a few hours before her job is due. IF she is SOOOO gravely ill then she should be giving notice much more than an hour before materials are due. I am reading that J. is trying to cut her slack and look to see if she should be giving her sympathy. All anyone here is saying is that THIS WOMAN COULD HAVE A CONDITION. Yes, she may have but she has not given the benefit of the doubt to the others that rely on her. I had 3 pregnancies. The first 2 were picture perfect fairly tale pregnancies. No sickness other than once or twice. My last I wanted to die. I had to take medications and lay in bed with 2 babies at home that needed me. I told everyone about it as so they understood the severity of the issue and why I could not be there for anyone even my own 2 kids. I would never had hid that from a buisness partner.

So my advice? ask her plain out, do you have this sickness where you can not complete your tasks? Can you do anything for her, delegate some duties for her, but if you are depending on her for profit and other things I wouldn't keep depending on her. She may or may not have what everyone is saying she may have. She may be slightly un-able to deal with it more than others. Unless it was a medical condition with a doctors note, I would ask her to produce one if she can not perform her duties. Otherwise you just suffer until she has the baby.
She is probably not a wimp, and yes you can have morning sickness where you can be non-functioning, but what I don't like about what I am reading is she is dropping the ball on her responsibilities she herself took on. She needs to inform you what she can and can not do, so you will know where to go from there. When you have morning sickness and pregnant your brain doesn't stop working.

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answers from Chicago on

Different women have differing degrees of morning sickness, so unfortunately, it's not really possible to compare experiences. Also, different personalities may handle morning sickness differently. Hard to say, as it could be a combination of factors. I think I'm more on the sympathetic side because morning sickness was really hard on me, too. Some have morning sickness only 13 weeks, some have it the whole pregnancy. :( That's a long time for her to be morning sick, so I'm sure it's not easy for her. Some have what is termed hyperemesis gravidarum as one of the postings below mentioned -- It's a condition characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and electrolyte disturbance. Mild cases are treated with dietary changes, rest and antacids. More severe cases often require a stay in the hospital so that the mother can receive fluid and nutrition through an intravenous line (IV).

Can she take time off until she feels a little better, so no one is expecting her to create materials? Or if she has to shoulder some responsibilities, can she take on something less work intensive for now? Maybe you can talk to her about what she can handle right now, and what she cannot? Either way, she should be responsible enough to give advance notice if she knows materials are not going to be completed, especially since this affects others in the co-op.

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answers from Jacksonville on

It depends J..

I had horrible morning sickness with both of my kids. I didn't throw up during the day, though. I just has such horrible nausea that I could barely function. Every morning, my day started with me in the bathroom throwing up stomach acid for about 20 minutes. Then, I didn't throw up the rest of the day, but neither did I feel up to doing anything. Some days (many days) no shower, even.
With my son, I was able to muddle through and work up until about 3 weeks before my due date. But I had a laid back desk job and my boss was very understanding (and rarely in the office). I was able to nibble food almost constantly, and it helped keep the nasty taste out of my mouth. Sea bands, ginger (snaps, ale, tea, etc), and crackers did nothing for my nausea.

With my daughter, I was NOT functional, even though I was no longer working outside the home. I essentially laid on the sofa and hoped my son didn't burn the house down in the early days (after my husband couldn't burn anymore sick leave, and before we packed up our son and sent him to grandma's (in-laws). I also spent time at MY parents with our son, so they could help with him (he was 2). I rarely made meals. Laundry was iffy. House cleaning didn't happen.
My doctor put me on Zofran and it HELPED. I was able to function and husband didn't have to stay home and we didn't have to ship son off anywhere else, but I still was able to DO very little. I spent a lot of time on the sofa with Disney movies on for our son. :(

It is a difficult thing to know, how much your co-op mom is suffering. Some people ARE drama queens. Some people tough things out through things you or I could not, no matter how seemingly impossible. Most people are somewhere in the middle.

For what it's worth, my nausea lasted until the day my kids were delivered. It did not go away at any point during pregnancy. We have 2 kids, and we decided no more after the 2nd one, mostly because of how incapacitated I was during both of them. I was completely miserable for almost 10 months each time. I have said before many times: Labor was a piece of cake and I could do that all day long.... just do NOT ask me to be pregnant ever again.

ETA: Just wanted to throw in also that the ONLY time in my life I ever felt depressed, was during pregnancy. As another mom mentioned in her post (somewhere below mine) what should have been some of the happiest days of my life, were the days that made me feel depressed. I woke every day with a sad "Oh God, please help me get through this day" plea, and an understanding of what people who have no hope feel. I knew with pregnancy #2, that I was going to be that way for 9 months. That is a long time to know that all you are going to want to do for 9 months is to crawl in a dark room and hide, pray for sleep, and for time to pass. Especially when you can't do that, you HAVE to be awake and alert to care for others.

The dentist I went to after my kids asked me if I had ever had an eating disorder (it damages the enamel on your teeth). Ummm no. I just had dry heaves with stomach acid for 9 months twice.

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answers from Detroit on

I cannot speak to anyone else or their experience, but for me it was BAD. There are some amazing women out there who fight through it. I am not one of them.
I had nausea ALL day for the first and much of the second trimester, and it was very bad nausea. I didn't throw up (maybe that would have given some relief?) Note I had four babies and that was OK (just regular morning sickness I guess), but the 5th...unbearable!

I knew if I had to live like that long-term I would rather DIE. I decided then and there that if chemo would cause nausea like this, I'd just do hospice someday (if I ever got cancer when older).

It was awful. Husband noted that "women go to work like this." Maybe they do, but I can't see HOW. I can't even imagine having another child. It was the WORST time of my life. Every day a's hard to explain...that feeling of being totally miserable ALL day long with no relief. I was on the couch all day long (literally, expect to pee) and my kids just ran around and got food from the cabinets.

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answers from Missoula on

I had terrible morning sickness, all day from around 5 weeks until the day I delivered, both times I was pregnant. I threw up constantly and spent hours most days on the bathroom floor.

Have a little sympathy for this woman. You don't know what she is experiencing, and you gain nothing by labeling her a wimp. It is great that you were able to power through your morning sickness, but that doesn't mean that everyone should be able to.

That said, do stress to her that you need to have more notice if she is unable to meet her obligations. Or maybe suggest that she take the remainder of her pregnancy off and rejoin the co-op after the baby is born.

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answers from Dallas on

I had morning sickness so bad, I was hospitalized many times. I had extreme morning sickness. (Actually all day, many times an hour sickness.) I couldn't even get out of bed, let alone the house. (I threw up the whole way going to the doctor, and threw up while I was there.) I had stomach lining and throat problems, because I threw up so much. Medication only helped every once in a while...and it helped me keep water down. I couldn't even dream of working. I was told not to, anyway. I did end up cancelling everything.

She is probably doing what I did for a while. HOPING that it would let up enough just to do this one thing...and nope. It's not happening. It's hard to let go that "it might get better, just in time." Just talk with her. Tell her you understand she is ill, and you are so sorry. Ask her if she could get her materials to you the day before, just in case she is feeling ill. If it were me, you would have the materials somehow. She might just be using it as an excuse. You will never know, until you ask that the materials be there.

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answers from Chicago on

I was very sick with my 2nd pregnancy. Even ended up in the hospital to get an IV since I couldn't even keep water down. I could barely function and I did have a job. I collapsed every day after my husband came home to take care of our oldest. I barely held it together.

In my opinion, you should cut her some slack. Maybe even reach out to her and ask if she needs help or if there is something you could do like delegate her assignments to others until she feels better.

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answers from New York on

I had terrible morning sickness through all 9 months of all my pregnancies and yes you figure out how to work around it because you've got stuff to do during the day. I'd say that all the co-op members need to figure out how to address this issue. If this woman is actually too ill to work then she needs to compensate the rest of the co-op as they cover for her. Additionally she needs to figure out a way to get her things to the co-op so that you all can function with business as usual. Depending on the hours available maybe if she can't get herself together in the morning she can do something in the afternoon or evening to help out.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I currently have pregnancy nausea (though mine kicks in strong around 3 pm and continues until night).
Sometimes throwing up is the best thing that can happen. If often gives you some relief. I've also had it were I don't throw up much, but spend the better part of the day nauseated. Sometimes thats worse.
For me a job was actually a great way to not focus on my nausea. But boy did I have to dig deep to get through it. If showing up were optional, I probably would not have come to work. My job at the time was 100% computer drafting and I just focused in on my mental task. However, staying home taking care of children with nausea is actually more challenging because its physical. If there is a physical component to your co-op then I can see where she may not feel up to it.

My nausea continued to 5 months with my first and until the day I delivered with my second. But I experienced relief after first trimester and was able function.
Truth is, its impossible to know if she is actually sick enough to be incapacitated or if she is wimping out and letting others pick of the slack. We all are so different its really going to be impossible for you to know.

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answers from Bellingham on

You are wrong here. Pregnancy sickness can be totally debilitating. I worked during mine, but it was so bad I had no choice but to stop working. My teeth were also damaged and I lost weight. It's not just the vomiting, it's also the continual nausea. You're weakened, trying to stay hydrated, and expected to work.

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answers from San Francisco on

How about just asking her to let you know more than an hour before? She knows the night before that the materials are not ready, why not let you know then.

Or just make it a policy that a 24 hour notice is needed for missing materials. Not trying to be insensitive as I understand the kids are involved and they are just as important a mom with morning sickness.

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answers from Miami on

It is wrong to judge another woman's sickness with pregnancy. I have no idea how I managed to make it through each day with my first pregnancy being that I was working full time with the constant feeling of wanting to vomit. It was horrible and everyone in my office knew I was not feeling so great, yet I had a job to do and everyone expected me to do it well. With that said, fast forward to my second pregnancy with me being a stay at home mom and having to care for a toddler, there were days I wanted to die. The third baby was the same, and then the 4th baby topped all the previous ones yet my doctor would not call any of my pregnancy sickness with any of my pregnancies, HG (Hyperemesis gravidarum). I had no medications prescribed, had a house to care for and 3 other children to care for as well. I did not minimize how I felt when I told everyone I was feeling terrible. Whether or not people believed I was exaggerating my symptoms, that is their business but let me tell you, I struggled. Maybe this woman is truly sick, it is not uncommon for some women to have pregnancy sickness well into the third trimester, and for some throughout the whole pregnancy. I know from experience how I felt and some days I felt like death. Some days I wanted to beg my husband to stay home and help me but knowing his income was paying for our family, I sucked it up the best I could and did what I could. It was hard. Please consider that this woman may be struggling. It is wrong to judge someone else just because your sickness was not as bad, or because someone had a picture perfect pregnancy and cannot understand how bad someone can really feel. Maybe some people ought to pull together and ask how they can help HER. And if it's discovered that she's been faking it all along, well, the guilt and shame will be on her. I know that some days can be worse than others, so give her the benefit of the doubt and don't judge her.

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answers from Charleston on

Well I'd be a little frustrated too, so I understand where you're coming from. How about asking her to turn in materials the afternoon before when she's not feeling as bad? Morning sickness is called that because it's usually when it's the worst because of an empty stomach and raging hormones.

I had terrible morning sickness with my first pregancy to the point I could not function all day long for 2 weeks straight. If I even smelled any food or it would send me over the edge. Thank goodness I am a dance teacher and had just finished up our year with our recital, so I was not working at the time. With my second, I had mostly waves of nausea throughout the day which I controlled by keeping something in my stomach at all times - crackers or ginger snaps and lots of ginger ale. I had to constantly eat and sip this to prevent the full blown puke fest. Maybe mention this to her? Even chewing peppermint gum helped with the nausea symptoms. And recommend Sea Bands - they worked great for me.

Cut her some slack and show a little sympathy, but at the same time, ask her to get her job done and materials to you in a timely manner - meaning an hour before it's due is not cutting it. If she's only sick in the mornings, there is no reason she can't get her stuff to you the afternoon before it's due.

Everyone reacts differently with pregnancy. Some have no morning sickness or very light and others can be hospitalized for it. It's not her fault, but unless she's willing to take some personal time off until the nausea subsides, she owes you a professional curtesy of getting her job done when she can.

Good luck!

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answers from Chicago on

I did have terrible morning sickness with my first child. And I mean bad. I was constantly weak, would have to get off the bus to throw up, then get back on the next bus...just to get to work. During work I would be running to the bathroom all day long, and then would often walk home (instead of take the bus) so I wouldn't have to deal with the on and off - I could just toss my cookies whenever I needed to on the way home. (Gross, I know. Sorry to anyone who lived in the West Loop in 2006!) I would get home and the only time I moved off the couch was to throw up, or to go to bed. It was horrible; and I was taking anti-nausea medication! This lasted for the first 6 months of that pregnancy. It is miserable. Think of how you feel when you've had the flu - you're sore and you're weak from the wretching - and the flu only lasts a few days! Now imagine that for weeks/months. It really does take a lot out of us. And having been through it, my thought is that this woman WANTS to follow through with her responsibilities, and is trying to (at least hoping that she'll feel well enough to do them), but then can't. It's not that she's being inconsiderate by giving such short notice, she's just finding herself at the mercy of her body. You can gently let her know that you understand her morning sickness is worse than usual, but the short notice makes things difficult for you. Ask her if she would like to pass things off to another member until she's past this. But please try not to make her feel guilty about it! I'm sure she really is trying, but just can't do it.

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