Why I’m Running the London Vitality 10,000 for Pregnancy Sickness Support
I realise to most people running 10km doesn’t seem like a big deal. I’ve got friends who have run marathons, climbed mountains, chopped off their hair and cycled hundreds of miles for charity. Compared to their challenges this seems a bit weak, doesn’t it?
I’m also aware that some people will roll their eyes at this. I think my second child, Alice, was only 6 weeks old when someone asked me if I was planning on having any more children. My answer was a definitive no. ‘Oh good, so you can stop going on about vomiting now’.
I should probably start by getting one thing clear – I will never stop banging the drum for better healthcare for women and their children. I’ve shared my experience of hypermesis gravidarum (HG) because things need to change and I want to ensure other women don’t experience the same as me. If I keep quiet, I’m helping to condemn these women to a miserable pregnancy. HG took over my life for 18 months. Time I will never get back. But, if we can work together to make things better, other women might be able to escape that misery.
A few other things to state up front: I’ve never run 10km before in my life. My previous running experience was a Race for Life 5km back in 2006 which I signed up for after one too many Friday night drinks and only finished as my friend Stacey dragged me round. I’ve had 2 children and couldn’t even imagine running for a bus when I hobbled out of the maternity ward with them. The London Vitality 10,000 is on May 27 and I did my first run on March 2, wearing a pair of trainers which were 4 years old. I’m literally going from ‘couch to 10km’ in 12 weeks.
But there are 3 very important reasons why I am embarking on this challenge.
The first is to help an incredible charity. Pregnancy Sickness Support (PSS) is the only organisation in the UK which helps women suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum and severe pregnancy sickness. They offer advice, a website packed full of information, a support network, telephone helpline and work with the NHS to educate healthcare professionals about the condition. They’ve help set up HG day units in hospitals, produced research into the condition and saved women from loneliness and isolation during their 9 months of HG hell. And they do all this on a shoe string budget with a tiny team and an amazing network of volunteers.
It’s thanks to the information supplied by PSS that I was able to embark on a second HG pregnancy. So I’d like to say thank you by raising some much needed cash to help them continue their amazing work.
The second is because I need to fix me. I was reasonably fit and healthy before falling pregnant for the first time in 2013. But 18 months of HG has done an awful lot of damage to my body. Crazily, I don’t even worry much about the ‘normal’ damage pregnancy does to you. I’ve had muscle wastage from lying down for months and a few months ago I was even facing surgery. I’ve spent a shocking amount of NHS money and my own money on doctors, osteopaths, physios and dentists. I’m hoping that training, focusing on my diet and building up strength and muscle will kick start me onto a healthier future.
But the third reason is the most important to me. There hasn’t been a huge amount of research into hypermesis gravidarum – we still don’t know the cause or how to fully treat it. But what is becoming clear is that there is a genetic link. And when I look at my daughter Alice I fear that, if she wants to have children in future, she will end up like me.
But I refuse to let my daughter lie on the bathroom floor all day for weeks on end, her life on hold, being sick 20 times a day.
I refuse to let my daughter beg for medication from doctors, only to be told to consider an abortion instead.
I refuse to let her lie there, scared, alone and suffering when she should be having fun and planning for the most exciting time of her life.
And I refuse to let that happen to your daughter too. 1% of pregnant women will suffer from hypermesis gravidarum and there is no way of knowing who it will happen to. I certainly didn’t expect it to happen to me.
So that’s why I’m running. If you’d like to support me I would be eternally grateful if you could sponsor me here. Thank you and wish me luck!