Ice cream is the ideal food: Easy down . . . and . . . easy up.
I know way too many women, including myself in my last full-term pregnancy, who’ve been on anti-emetics—not for comfort or convenience, but because the safety of Mom and/or Baby was at stake. Which got me to wondering: Was it ever thus? What did they do before anti-emetics? Is there some great homeopathic remedy for the inaptly named “morning sickness” that we’ve lost over the years? Or have women undergone a serious devolution from our stronger foremothers?
We hear lots about the sobering infant and maternal mortality statistics of yesteryear, but those usually deal with childbirth and the first year of infancy. The only historical reference to morning sickness that comes to my mind is a brief mention in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The First Four Years. (NB: My mind is like a steel sieve nowadays, and I didn’t actually research this. Please feel hereby invited to do my homework for me.)
Did pregnant pilgrims and pioneers puke to the point of dangerous dehydration? And if so, how did they survive, to say nothing of carrying on with the myriad daily tasks that had to be done? (And I mean really had to be done, not geez-this-place-looks-like-a-wreck done.) Even when the nausea and vomiting knock me down hard, I can summon heat, light, and water with the minimal exertion of a finger. When I can’t make it into the kitchen, the people in the house who are inclined to eat can usually still find something edible in the pantry or freezer—and if not, Dad can make a quick grocery store run. There may be an overwhelming pile in the quadrant formerly known as the hamper, but I’m pretty sure that if I had to hie me down to the crick and scrub the duds on the rocks, the laundry would for real never get done.
Probably women have been cursed with hyperemesis gravidarum ever since being booted out of the Garden, and, like so much of mother-related history, the story hasn’t been told because the matrons of yore were too busy industriously living their lives to waste time blogging about it. :P