I wish I could write this post with even more anonymity that what this blog provides. This is an embarrassing admission and even though I’ve been honest about this with many people in my life, it still feels pretty ridiculous. Because, it is. Even I can admit that but somehow it just doesn’t help. 

I’ve definitely made no secret that I suffer (yes, suffer ) from emetophobia. Definitely not to the degree that some people do, but badly enough that I wondered many times A) how would I get through morning sickness and B) once I had kids, how would I handle the barf? Kids come with barf. It’s a fact of life. My desire to have a family, thankfully(!!!) outweighed my fears, and here I am now…. Cleaning up barf after the SEVENTH round of vomiting so far this morning from T and L. At their ages, they oftentimes make it to the toilet now, but not always. Z, not so much. As in, not at all. I am hoping against all hope that he won’t catch whatever this demon virus is. 
Side story: pre kids, DH and I made an agreement that he would handle all barf clean up and I would handle poop. Let’s all laugh! As a sahm, (and extremely thankful to be a sahm, btw) I am the main on-duty parent and DH is seldom ever able to be here during these illnesses. Thankfully I own several pairs of big girl panties and I find myself soldiering on.

Actually, I started this post during our last round of stomach virus and never finished it but as I continue to fight the ridiculousness of extreme vomit anxiety, I realize there are other people like me out there and maybe they are also scouring the internet for support and comfort as they ride waves of nausea or face another stomach virus with their child. Let me give you a word of comfort right now…. As hard as it’s been dealing with not just normal morning sickness but actually severe morning sickness for three of my pregnancies, and even though kids barf even more often that I had realized, it’s been 100% worth it. We’ve gotten through and we continue to survive and I’m extremely thankful to say that I actually have less anxiety now than I used to. I know exposure therapy can be done as part of emetophobia treatment and as it so happens, I’ve kind of inadvertently done exactly that by having multiple pregnancies and multiple children. I wouldn’t change a thing… I’m thankful for my kids and I’m thankful I’ve been able to carry them throughout my pregnancies and if it means I’ve had to face my fears far more than I had imagined, good! It’s been hard but it’s also been helpful. 

That’s not to say that I haven’t spent anxiety ridden hours online, looking for anything that could possibly prevent me from throwing up. Yes, even googling if there is some surgery that I could have that would make it impossible to throw up ever again. It’s embarrassing to admit, but yes, I’ve googled that. I’ve spent more money on over the counter nausea medicine and hand sanitizers that claim to kill norovirus than I care to admit. FYI, I haven’t found it hugely successful. As in, we are currently sick, so not at all successful. And when my kids get sick, I spend countless hours bleaching every surface they touch… Repeatedly… While wearing gloves, yet still washing my hands until my skin is completely dry and sad. And yes, as the title says, when I’ve touched the handle of the bleach jug, I now have to bleach the handle because I’ve contaminated it (in my mind). I also bleach the outside of the Lysol bottle after I touch it. I alternate between bleaching and lysoling every door knob, light switch, faucet handle, toilet, bathroom floor, couch, the washing machine, cabinet door knobs…  Then I go into stomach lockdown mode where I’ll go days only eating a few crackers and a little soup and drinking club soda, ya know, in case I’m going to get sick. Because in my flawed reasoning, if im going to throw up, I don’t really want anything in there to throw up. And you know what? All that prevention seldom actually keeps me from catching the virus. It’s basically an exercise in futility and is only feeding my paranoia rather than actually helping anything. 

So what is the takeaway here? I don’t really know. I guess just to let other people who are suffering know that you are not alone in your fears. But also, please don’t let your fears hold you back. Even though we spend the majority of cold and flu season at home, we use grocery pickup most of the time, we sanitizer our hands after each place we go in (and I’m not just talking about regular sanitizer – I’ve went as far as keeping a jug of soapy water in the van and literally washing the kids and my own hands after every stop), we use a cart cover at the stores, I clean my bathrooms frequently, we take our vitamins and eat pretty healthy AND we avoid anyone who has had a stomach virus for the full 2 weeks that the virus can potentially live inside someone’s intestinal tract…. Shew!!! …. Even though we do all of that, it happens. People get sick. Bodies have weaknesses and sickness is a part of life. Don’t let fear of getting sick prevent you from doing things and enjoying your life. Don’t let fear prevent you from having a family and all the joy that brings. It’s worth it 100%. 🙂 

 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

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