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Monica Portogallo shares what God taught her through a recent bout of pregnancy-related nausea.

After years of primary and secondary infertility, much to our surprise, God blessed our family with another child, due to arrive around the beginning of October. God did not only send me the gift of a baby, though. He also sent me the gift of pregnancy-related nausea, often called morning sickness. 

I know morning sickness is not usually considered a gift, but along with mine, God sent me lessons and ways to grow in virtue. 


Over the course of my career, I’ve counseled literally hundreds of women with pregnancy-related nausea. Though I didn’t have it with my first, I felt confident that if I ever had it myself, I would know exactly what to do to keep it under control.

All the little tips and tricks I learned over the years to help with nausea did help -- sometimes. Nothing, however, worked every time. Sometimes, despite all I tried, the nausea wouldn’t budge, and I had to just deal with it or try sleeping it off. Turns out knowledge could only take me so far.

I also realized how privileged I am compared to other women. Though I felt nauseous, I never vomited. I was uncomfortable, but not in danger of problems like dehydration.

I also had the privilege of working from home, where I could snack at will to settle my stomach and take naps during my lunch break. So many of the pregnant women I have counseled over the years have not had that luxury, and some even had to lose their income because they simply could not do jobs like cooking at a seafood restaurant with their nausea.

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Living in Today

I never knew from day to day how I was going to feel. On the good days, I learned to seize the day, take advantage of feeling well, and do tasks I had been procrastinating about. On the bad days, I learned to make the best of it and appreciate that my worth does not lie in my productivity. I took to heart Jesus’s words: "sufficient for one day is its own evil." I learned to detach from planning my week out, because I had to see how I felt on any given day. Letting go of planning my schedule is something I never could do before. 


The temperance lesson surprised me the most, since I didn’t think I had a problem with overindulging. Still, during times I was feeling better, I found myself wanting to eat more to make up for lost meals, so to speak. The pregnancy-related nausea, though, would not let me. I quickly learned that eating or drinking too much at one sitting pretty much guaranteed nausea. Even too much water at once made me queasy. So I learned to pace myself, even if I felt fine and the food was delicious, or I would regret it later. 


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Morning sickness is not usually considered a gift, but along with mine, God sent me lessons and ways to grow in virtue.  #catholicmom

Now that I am in the second trimester, I am starting to have more good days than bad days in terms of nausea. While I am grateful for that, I hope that the wisdom God revealed to me in morning sickness will stay with me long after the nausea goes for good.

Copyright 2021 Monica Portogallo
Image: Edward Cisneros (2018), Unsplash