Pregnancy is no doubt an incredible experience – but it isn’t all plain sailing for a lot of women, as singer Frankie Bridge is well aware.
The mum-of-one, who’s around six months pregnant with her second child, has publically battled with Hyperemesis Gravidarum (HG) – the same illness that the Duchess of Cambridge had during both of her pregnancies.
The pregnancy illness affects some 10,000 women each year and can mean that women can’t keep their food down, quickly become dehydrated and often need hospital treatment – like Kate Middleton did with both of her pregnancies.
It caused Frankie to pull out of the Strictly Come Dancing tour, subsequently forcing her to reveal her pregnancy before the standard three-month mark.
Kate Middleton helped shed light on the condition after suffering from it during her pregnancies with Prince George and Princess Charlotte – making it easier for fans to understand why Frankie had to pause her career while battling the symptoms.
“I’m feeling so much better but it hasn’t been an easy pregnancy,” Frankie told The Mirror. “The condition kicked in at around six weeks and I was so ill they wanted to admit me to hospital.
“The only reason I didn’t go is I couldn’t bear the thought of the car journey. Weirdly, I had a phobia of being sick until this happened and the only silver lining is that being ill so often has cured me of that!”
Frankie’s HG was so bad that the slightest movement made her feel nauseous. "At one point I just lay on the floor because even moving my eyes made me feel ill,” she says.
“It’s eased off and while it returns every so often if I rest, eat little and often and take medication, it’s controllable and I can get on with life.”
While Frankie didn’t suffer from HG during her pregnancy to her now 18-month-old son, Parker, the singer did experience bad water retention and nausea.
She’s happy to talk about this experience and her struggle with HG as she is vying for both negative and positive pregnancy experiences to be shared more openly.
“Women should be honest about the fact that although having a baby is wonderful, it can be hard,” says Frankie. “It’s a massive body change and life change and comes with a whole wave of emotions.”
A recent report showed that women with HG don’t receive the right amount of care and treatment. The report, called ‘I Could Not Survive Another Day,’ polled 70 women in the UK who were forced to end their pregnancy because of severe sickness.
Another woman’s story recently went viral after she made the tough choice to terminate her pregnancy at eight months. Kate, from Boston, realised very late in her pregnancy that the baby she was carrying had two brain malformations that would leave her with almost no quality of life.
She decided to have an abortion and shared her story to help other families who have gone through something similar.
You could argue that there aren’t enough women who open up about their own experience of pregnancy – whether good or bad. Perhaps some women are scared they’ll be judged or maybe they don’t want to scare others or appear to be boastful if their pregnancy or birth went without a hitch.
Either way, sharing our stories is a great way to provide support and advice for others and could well be just want someone else needs.
Do you think women should talk about their pregnancy experiences? Let us know in the comments.