Hi friends, hope you’ve been well. I love sharing women’s inspirational stories, and today I share the story of 25-year-old Diana Nashipai Awuor. Read on and share with a friend.
On the day she got back to Nairobi from an out-of-town trip, Diana headed straight to the hospital. She was experiencing severe nausea and vomiting, was feeling faint, dehydrated and very weak. Seven weeks pregnant, she was admitted at the hospital.
“I was seriously sick. Anything I ate, I vomited. Anything I drank including water, I vomited it all out. I was sick all day long and spent the better part of my day in the toilet retching. I stopped eating and lost so much weight. I hated how I felt, and I hated everything around me,” Diana remembers.
Diana spent four days at the hospital after doctors diagnosed her with hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). HG is a pregnancy complication characterized by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and in many cases, dehydration. Diana was informed that there was no cure for the HG, that it could only be managed with medication, adequate rest and support from those around her.
Resentful Towards My Pregnancy
While the news of her pregnancy had been a happy moment for Diana and her husband, it was turning out to be a source of great misery.
“I would vomit almost every 30 minutes. Even when there was nothing in my stomach, I still felt the urge to vomit. My mouth was always had a bitter taste as a result. It was such a horrible experience that left me feeling so frustrated!
But that was not all. I slowly started resenting my pregnancy because of the joy it was taking away from me. I became such a miserable, gloomy and angry person. I hated being around people and shut out anybody who tried to reach out to me, including my own family members. I just wanted to be alone.” Diana says.
My Husband’s Presence
A newly wed, Diana had resigned from her job to try her hand in entrepreneurship. With her good baking skills, she knew it would be a worthwhile venture. But with the difficult pregnancy, she could not stand the sight or smell of food or be anywhere near the kitchen without vomiting. Baking became an impossible task.
Thankfully, she had her husband’s support.
“Before leaving for work in the morning, he would prepare my breakfast and lunch and leave the house well organized. He would encourage me to eat, no matter how little, saying I needed the energy for my growing baby.
What my Gynaecologist Said and Did
One day, he returned home from work in the evening to find that I hadn’t touched my food. In fact, I’d barely moved from the spot he had left me. I’d already lost so much weight and deeply worried, he took me to my doctor.
Thankfully, my gynaecologist -Dr. Ndirangu understood me and said it wasn’t unusual for me to be feeling that way. He reassured me and made me feel okay.
Whenever I went to Dr. Ndirangu, he would allow me to cry and vent about all that I was feeling. Even when I told him I was feeling resentful about the pregnancy because of how it was making me feel, he didn’t judge me. He never rushed me and gave me enough time to express myself while he listened keenly. I always felt so much better.
Risk of Post-Partum Depression
My husband would always take time off work to accompany me for the doctor’s visit. I also liked how Dr. Ndirangu would talk to my husband too, asking him about how he was coping as an ‘expectant father’ and giving him helpful information about how best he could support me. Dr. Ndirangu further recommended that I see a psychologist or a counselor. He worried that if left untreated, it possibly would lead to post-partum depression.
I didn’t feel like seeing a counsellor, but my husband convinced me to follow the doctor’s advice. I decided to visit CITAM Valley Road where I attended five counseling sessions. The counselor talked to me and reiterated the doctor’s statements – that it wasn’t my fault for feeling the way I was. After each session, I always felt so much better and gradually, I began smelling the roses around me and seeing the sunshine in my situation. Even though I never stopped feeling nauseated and continued vomiting after every two hours, I began feeling like I was getting a new lease of life. The counseling sessions at CITAM were free by the way, for which I’m grateful.
Defying Doctor’s Orders
When I was six months pregnant, the doctor put me on complete bed rest. My husband remained very supportive and always ensured the meals were prepared and the house was in order before he left for work. The only thing that I could hold down without vomiting excessively was porridge, and my husband prepared that for me. He would return home early to prepare dinner and take care of me.
One day, while he was at work, I got bored of staying in bed and decided to cook. It turned out to be a big mistake as I ended up experiencing severe abdominal pains. I called my husband who rushed me to hospital where I was informed that if I didn’t follow my doctor’s instructions to be on total bed rest, I would end up going into premature labor –placing the life of my baby at risk.
My Son Arrives
I surrendered and followed the doctor’s instructions to the letter. I remained on bed rest until I delivered my healthy son, who was born weighing 3.3kgs. He is now one year old.
My experience with HG is that it can happen to any woman. It is also good for family and friends not to give up on a woman who may be suffering from depression in pregnancy. Most of the time the depressive moods are beyond her control.
It was Worth it!
My son, who is now a year old, has been such a blessing in our lives and has brought back the joy and happiness in our lives. Every time I look at him and think about all the turmoil I underwent when pregnant with him, I conclude that it was wall worth it. I would do it all over again!” -END
So that is Diana’s story. I hope it has helped you understand the turmoil that many pregnant women go through. For some, it even hinders them from going about their daily activities and can lead to depression both during and after pregnancy.
If you are or know of a woman who would benefit from a support group of women who have undergone pregnancy-related turmoil or depression, you can reach out to Samoina Wangui of PostPartum Depression Kenya. Samoina experienced depressive episodes during her pregnancy and you can read her story that I wrote here.
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Here at Mummy Tales: Raising a Family in Africa, I share inspirational stories of other women -experiences that we can all learn from. If you have an experience you’d like to share with other women, you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be in touch with you.