Morning Sickness Blues

Mallory Moats
4 min readJan 28, 2021


I’ve got the morning sickness blues. It started around 6 weeks. The vomiting, exhaustion, and headaches. At first, I was still able to take my dog for a walk, pick up my toddler from daycare, and do bath and bedtime with her, but as the weeks wore on, I watched my daily activities recede one by one.

Morning Sickness Blues

Some days I couldn’t get out of bed or up off the sofa — I was comatose with nausea. At night, I’d wake up and run to the bathroom, barely making it in time before I got sick again. I couldn’t help but think that “morning sickness” was in desperate need of a rebranding.

The morning sickness set in over the holidays and at that time, the few obligations that I had to my home and family could be delegated to my partner. However, as winter break came to a close and work loomed on the horizon, I braced myself for the worst.

There was only one thing to do, really. Tell everyone right away what I was going through. My colleagues, my management team, my neighbors and friends. Bringing everyone along on the journey seemed like the only option for survival — I needed support and I needed it right away.

What was particularly difficult was that during a time that should’ve been brimming with excitement, I felt completely miserable and lifeless. That wasn’t how it was supposed to go.

My own experience made me realize that I really hadn’t heard much about women’s struggles with morning sickness while they were in the thick of it. Afterwards, during that buoyant, glowing phase of pregnancy, my friends might share, I had terrible morning sickness, but at that point, it was always just a passing comment that inspired a sympathetic, oh, sorry to hear that. Without being present for it, it’s not easy to internalize what it can truly entail.

As an example, when I first posted in my Instagram stories about how sick I was, my direct messages were flooded with comments from friends, colleagues and neighbors telling me of their own experiences. Stories included women that were on bedrest for months at a time, women who were vomiting their entire pregnancy, and women that had to be admitted to the hospital for fluids. These were women in my own network and prior to those comments, I had NO idea what they were going through.

Perhaps women don’t freely discuss morning sickness because the norm is to not share with others that you’re pregnant until you’re certain the pregnancy is viable (morning sickness is usually a first trimester phenomenon). Even when I began to share the news, many were surprised that I was doing so — “wow, you’re so early!” folks said with raised eyebrows.

The elephant in their eyebrows was miscarriage, of course. As heartbreaking as I’m sure that would have been, I also understand that such loss occurs in something like 1 in 4 pregnancies. At that rate, it’s a biological norm, not something to bring shame on me as a mother or human being. And the more silence there is around the topic, the more shame manifests itself, in a vicious cycle.

And were something like that to occur, it’s those very people I was sharing my news with that I’d need to turn to for emotional support. Letting them know up front seemed sensible to me.

I’ve also wondered if perhaps women didn’t feel that they had permission to discuss their struggle with morning sickness. After all, it’s part of the process and shouldn’t we just be grateful to be pregnant when so many others are trying to conceive? Besides, women have been going through this since the proverbial beginning of time, so toughen up, buttercup!


I’ve always been a firm believer in ask and ye shall receive. When I shared what I was going through, my colleagues stepped up and took work off my plate; friends and co-workers sent care packages; neighbors offered remedies; family called to check in every day.

Personally, I consider myself fortunate to have a partner that is able to shoulder 100% of our household and caretaking responsibilities during this time, but many families aren’t set up in such a way that makes that possible, further straining a tough situation.

This is why my hope would be that more women would start to open up about morning sickness because if we don’t talk about it, how will our colleagues, our companies, or our friends and neighbors know what we’re going through? How will they know that it takes a village and we really need our village at that moment?

As it relates to work, for companies that are seeking to hire and promote women of childbearing age, it’s important that they know this is something that deeply affects many women in their first trimester of pregnancy and that it can be incredibly disruptive to their lives. Some women get so sick that they might even benefit from short-term medical leave; however, if we don’t talk about it and raise awareness, it’s difficult to make that a norm. I’d love to get to a point where if a woman is experiencing significant morning sickness, it’s actually encouraged that she request short-term medical leave with no impact to her pay or performance.

After all, what could be more important than taking care of our bodies, minds, and babies?

Nothing, that’s what.



Mallory Moats

Interested in reading and writing about personal stories. Opinions and observations are my own.