When Holding Arrows are Heavy.
Children are a heritage from the Lord,
offspring a reward from him.
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior
are children born in one’s youth.
Blessed is the man
whose quiver is full of them.
My husband and I have always desired a quiver full of children.
And with six arrows in that very quiver, we feel extremely fortunate.
Holding these arrows has at times been very, very heavy.
As you may know, we were fortunate to fall pregnant easily, despite being told we may not conceive.
And those little seeds also stuck quite firmly upon conception.
The remainder of my pregnancies though, were horrendous.
I was the recipient through all of my five pregnancies (one twin pregnancy) of a condition called, Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is described as an illness at the extreme end of the pregnancy sickness spectrum, affecting only 1% of women and characterised by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration.
Sufferers can lose up to 5% or more of their body weight, and in some cases, the condition can be life-threatening to both mother and baby, due to malnutrition and lack of fluids.
As thrilled as I was to fall pregnant each time, at precisely five weeks and four days, therein everything went downhill.
It started with a metallic taste in my mouth and a churning stomach and within a few days, always resulted in hospital admission.
Pure joy and elation, so quickly turned to despair.
During my pregnancies, I felt the weight of holding my arrows extremely heavy.
In fact, each time I was in the depths of Hyperemesis, I fell into a very, deep, dark hole.
And stayed there for the remainder of my pregnancy.
Which made nine months feel so very long.
Utterly bleak and at times torturous.
During one particular hospital admission with my first child, I vividly remember laying in a foetal position on the hospital stretcher, a thin, crude, cotton sheet barely disguising my prominent hip bones and knobbly knees, and thinking, ‘I just want to die, right here and now, I want to die’.
I felt so wretched.
The weight of holding my arrow seemed unbearable.
It is said for one to fully appreciate and comprehend another’s situation and duly empathise, one must have first-hand personal experience of it.
I am a perfect example of this, as I have in the past, when hearing of others in difficult situations, thought, ‘but this too shall pass’.
And I therefore, hold no grudge or ill feeling towards the myriad of people who said to me throughout my pregnancies, that I should nibble on cracker biscuits, sip ginger ale, eat little and often, suck on fresh air or think positive thoughts.
None at all, because unless I had experienced Hyperemesis, I would never have understood.
Apparently, having girls can make the symptoms worse (due to female hormones crossing the placenta).
I have four girls.
The final pregnancy was twin girls.
So, double the hormones, double the sickness.
I was admitted to hospital at 6 weeks with the twins, having not kept anything down for days.
I didn’t even have the luxury of my own saliva staying put.
I couldn’t bear to watch tv as the movement on the screen made me sick.
I couldn’t read because the mere sight of books made me ill.
And don’t even mention smells. Like anything that had scent. The air made me gag.
All I could do was pray that night would come quickly and the blessed relief of sleep would stop the constant sickness.
And still I vomited. Day and night.
I was so good at it, I even managed to vomit in my sleep.
A skill, I am proud of to this day.
No messing around with my body. I am productive in sleep.
I knew that every time we added to our quiver, the darkness would accompany me.
And the weight of that darkness was one of the heaviest I would carry.
And my family. Especially my husband. So heavy.
Yet, I welcomed it. Time and time again.
Even though I was terrified.
For without it, there would be no arrows.
Just an empty quiver.
And for that, I would do it all over again. In a heartbeat.
For all of those strong, courageous mama’s who are literally fighting every day to grow their own arrows within their bodies.
You are warriors!
An anonymous quote I held onto during my pregnancies is this –
‘Women in labour, leave their bodies. They travel to the stars to collect the souls of their babies and return to this world together’.
I think all mama’s with Hyperemesis travel to the ends of the earth and back again, every, single day, whilst fighting to protect and grow their babies.
Mama’s, you can do it.
Even when you feel like you can’t.
And soon, that fighting and endless sickness, will end, and like me, result in cradling the most precious and beautiful creations on the face of this earth.
And you can kick HG to the kerb. Once and for all.