No Explanation Needed For Barfing In The Bathroom

by admin on November 28, 2013

I’m hoping you can help me handle the situation that keeps cropping up.

I’m currently almost six months pregnant. I have a pregnancy complication called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), which is a severe form of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy. Unlike typical morning sickness, it often lasts all nine months, involves dramatic weight loss, dehydration requiring hospitalization for fluids, malnutrition, and can have more serious consequences (like severe dental and esophageal damage, and poor fetal growth and preterm labor). I’m lucky– my baby is growing well, though the health related complications this is causing mean this will be my last pregnancy. I just need your advice to get through the last few months.

I also had HG with my first child, and ran into this situation as well. I get sick multiple times a day, and since my husband works long hours, I have doctor’s appointments, and I have a three year old, sometimes I’m out in public when I get sick. I try to pick restrooms or locations away from others. I know others are often disturbed, grossed out, and upset by throwing up and so I try not to expose others to it.

However, when I need to be sick, there are times that the only place is in a crowded public bathroom, or there are times when I’m getting sick and someone walks in. It’s pretty obvious what’s going on, and usually people leave quickly or move away when I leave the stall.

I feel guilty, and usually try to say, “It’s not contagious, it’s pregnancy related. I get a severe form of morning sickness the entire time. I’m sorry!” I don’t want anyone to worry that I’ll make them sick.

But then I get all sorts of crazy comments like: “I wish I had morning sickness! Then I wouldn’t have gained so much weight during pregnancy” (it completely baffles me that anyone would WISH to throw up), “it’s all in your head” (apparently I choose to be this sick), “I hope you don’t take any medicine. That could kill your baby!” (not as quickly as the dehydration would if I didn’t take meds, but thanks for your concern), and “you should try ginger ale” (which is mostly just frustrating because I’d hope I’m smart enough to try ginger ale before hitting the point I’m visibly pregnant).

I usually just half smile and leave and don’t respond to the comments other than one-word answers. I never know what to say. I recognize that by sharing why I’m throwing up I am opening myself up to stranger comments… but I feel like I should say something when people are visibly shrinking away from me and freaked out after hearing me get sick, fearing that I’m contagious.

What’s the appropriate way to handle it when strangers see or hear you get sick in public? I really do my best to avoid the situation, but it does happen at times. I feel truly dreadful for the poor people who catch me. I know it’s gross, but I can’t help it.

Should I continue with my explanation that I’m not contagious? Should I just leave without saying a word? Should I apologize? If I do explain, is there a polite way to stop the ridiculous comments while I wash my face and hands and beat a quick retreat from the bathroom?   1125-13

Bathrooms are for the capture and containment of bodily effluvia, be it pee, poop, barf, snot, boogers, blood, etc.   It is far more preferable that you barf in a public bathroom stall than an open area…which reminds me of the time my then 10 year old son did not make it into the McDonald’s bathroom and spewed with epic flourish all over the dining room floor.  It was spectacular.

What you  perceive as people “shrinking away” may only be the desire to give you space and privacy.    A lot of people do not like to vomit in the presence of others, even their own spouses, and I can see how people would want to give you a wide berth for your sake.  Some people get physically sick at the sound and smell of vomit which also explains why they may be hurrying out of the way.

And if you are at a loss for words, I suspect the other bathroom patrons are as well which results in the rather inane and pointless comments they make.   I personally would not give them a conversational opening such as you have done.    No one needs to know why you are tossing your cookies in the bathroom since what you are doing is a perfectly acceptable use of the facilities and your current health status is none of their business.  If you happen to meet eyes with someone while washing hands, you could say, “Pregnancy”, and leave it at that.

{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacey Frith-Smith November 28, 2013 at 3:23 am

Poor OP! I do hope you feel better/ have as few as possible of these episodes. No one else needs input on your illness- unless you excuse the generic “are you okay?” inquiry and reply “fine” or something similar that you are comfortable with.

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Marozia November 28, 2013 at 4:07 am

I’m sorry that you feel so sick in your pregnancies. Believe me, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last with HG. I came across a lady who had the same problem and she said the same as you, ‘not contagious, just pregnant, and I can’t help it, but I just get sick’ in a public bathroom in the local shopping centre. I just told her, if you have to do it, just do it and never mind anyone else.
Admin gives good advice with the ‘pregnancy’ one-off word to someone who asks.

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Eva November 28, 2013 at 4:37 am

I agree with admin. Don’t feel guilty. I would belong to those who “shrink away”, because if I did not, I might as well join you in your stall. Sight, smell or sound… all are equally “contagious” as far as my stomach is concerned. It does not mean, I want to avoid you as a person.

And I would most likely make some sort of inane answer as well, because I would feel sorry for you. I definitely know, how I feel, after throwing up.

Good luck with your pregnancy and I hope you and the baby will be fine.

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jojo November 28, 2013 at 5:45 am

I feel your pain, I had terrible morning sickness well into my third trimester.
It wasn’t as bad as hyperemesis gravidarum but I still found myself living on ginger oat biscuits and ice lollies. Even brushing my teeth was pure torture!
I had it well before I discovered I was pregnant, so quite how it could have been ‘all in my head’ remains a mystery but I know a hypnotherapist who has had great success helping women ease their symptoms.
There’s absolutely no need to have to explain yourself to anyone else but maybe rephrasing your statements would work? Saying things in a way that close down any further conversation?
I’d be tempted to say something more to the effect of, ” ugh, you know what it’s like when you have really bad morning sickness”, and then get out or compliment something about the person to move the conversation on to them.
I also saw a herbalist with an excellent reputation while I was pregnant and she helped a bit but I never really got a handle on it until a certain point where the hormones in my system shifted. I came across a graph in a pregnancy book charting the way hormone levels change a few weeks later that mirrored exactly the cycle of my morning sickness.
OP, I really hope that you have the same experience and just wake up one morning soon completely free of sickness and can comfortably enjoy the rest of your pregnancy.

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Celia November 28, 2013 at 6:07 am

Agree with Op, don’t say anything or if you catch their eye and they appear sympathetic a one word “pregnancy” comment would suffice.

If someone is outwardly rude to you, ignore them. They have no place in your life once you’ve left the bathroom!

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Lo November 28, 2013 at 6:56 am

Definitely don’t take it personally that people want to give you privacy while you’re sick. And don’t worry about explanations.

People who make comments as stupid as “I wish I’d had morning sickness”, don’t even deserve a response. Though other comments may just be an attempt to cover the awkwardness of the situation, especially if they’ve caught you in the act, so to speak.

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Lkb November 28, 2013 at 7:25 am

I am so sorry the OP has to deal with this. I’ve always hated and feared when Ihave had to vomit. I was fortunate to never had morning sickness.

Personally, if I was a passerby and came across someone in the OP’s situation, I’d be grateful for some assurance that she is not contagious (the “pregnancy” comment is fine). That way, I can be sure my immune-compromised daughter would not be affected.

I’m sorry the Op had to deal with comments. I hope there have also been some offers for help.
Best wishes for a healthy baby and mommy!

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Shoebox November 28, 2013 at 9:11 am

OP, seriously, you’re stressing yourself out far too much, at a time when you so, so shouldn’t be. As Admin and others have mentioned, you’re way overthinking what 99% of the time will merely be the natural desire to give you privacy, and/or to avoid the sight/sound/smell of vomit.

(I consider myself a compassionate person, but it takes everything I’ve got to cope with assisting even loved ones in that situation, and even then I have to take several deep breaths afterwards. Now you’ve got me worried about the terrible impression I might be giving strangers the odd time I run into this in public restrooms!)

Basically, Admin’s advice is spot-on. As well, remembering that undue stress can badly aggravate these types of symptoms might help you refocus on caring for yourself, and perhaps briefly reassuring the 0.1% who will still be looking at you askance as you exit the stall for good reason. Everybody else will get over it, trust me.

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Kimberly November 28, 2013 at 9:12 am

I would not say anything at all. There is no need for you to come out of a bathroom stall and try and explain why you are barfing.

If someone looks at you funny or makes a comment, all you have to do is say, “Pregnancy”.

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Hanna November 28, 2013 at 9:57 am

First off, OP, I want to thoroughly apologize for what you’re going through. I cannot imagine being that sick my entire pregnancy, as I had morning sickness for only 7 weeks and thought it was rough!

If I had an episode in a public stall I would tell anyone I ran into “I’m pregnant” and leave it at that. I would think it’s important to tell people though, because I know some people would be miserable all day thinking “I could have caught the stomach flu!” So I think a lot of people would find it very reassuring for you to let them know you’re pregnant. I don’t think you have to go into details about having HG, but a simple “Pregnant,” like the admin said, will do the trick. Anything anyone says after that is what it is. People are ALWAYS going to comment on SOMETHING, especially relating to pregnancy/babies and while I’ve tried at times, there is no way to stop it.

Congrats on the new babe!

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NostalgicGal November 28, 2013 at 10:07 am

I hate spewing. I hate it when anything else spews; I’m of the sort I’ll join them about one breath later; if I can see, hear, or smell it going on or right after. I hate cleaning up spew, mine or others.

OP I really feel for you and your body doing this to you…. I’d just say ‘pregnant’ and leave it at that. Anything else is just opening for Rude-ites from the planet Boron to stick their oar in.

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JeanLouiseFinch November 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

If someone stupidly says they wish they had morning sickness, just tell them, “No you don’t, trust me.” It sounds as if you are doing the best you can. Based on the fact that stomach flu can lead to hospitalization for me because of my diabetes, I agree with Lkb that an assurance that you are not contagious is a thoughtful way to handle this. Congratulations on your impending baby. I am sure your delivery will be a relief after all of this.

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megsong24 November 28, 2013 at 10:24 am

My mom dealt with it for all three of us OP. Feel as much better as you can, and Congratulations!

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essie November 28, 2013 at 10:25 am

I agree with Admin; the one word “pregnancy” says “I’m nauseated, it’ll pass, I don’t require assistance, you’re not in danger.” . If I see/hear someone vomiting in public, “CONTAGION!” is not the first thing that comes to mind (probably because I can’t think of anything contagious and serious where vomiting is the main symptom); bad food or overindulgence is.

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Shalamar November 28, 2013 at 10:26 am

I’m tempted to quote from “The Story Girl” here: “The Family Guide says to never apologize for something you can’t help.” I probably wouldn’t go as far as that, but I’d be inclined to not offer any apology or explanation. If someone asks “Are you all right?”, then by all means, say “I have terrible morning sickness” (or something like that).

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Raven November 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

People say the weirdest things when they are uncomfortable.

Hang in there, OP! You sound like a tough cookie. :)

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Allie November 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

I agree with Admin you don’t owe anyone an explanation. A weak smile in their direction is enough to let them know you are sorry and can’t help it. And I wouldn’t worry about people thinking you are contagious. It’s not the first place the mind goes when seeing/hearing someone throw up, and even if you aren’t visibly pregnant (which isn’t always obvious), people may come to that conclusion on their own. If you feel compelled to say something and are up for a little humour, you could observe that Kate Middleton was hospitalized for what you have, and since then it’s the cool, new trend in pregnancy-related disorders. Only the best for you : )

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amyasleigh November 28, 2013 at 11:44 am

Am male, and therefore perhaps callous as regards a particular thing which I could never personally experience as a problem; but the heading of this item reminds me of the old Irish song, “Courting in the Kitchen” — the heading’s whole wording, “No explanation needed for barfing in the bathroom”, fits exactly the last line of each verse of the song. I feel moved to attempt a parody of the song, in support of and sympathy with, ladies in the OP’s situation — rhyming with “bathroom” would seem a harder exercise than doing so with “kitchen”; but, you never know…

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Kimber November 28, 2013 at 11:51 am

The admins answer is spot on. I had hg with all 3 of my pregnancies. I was hospitalized. I threw up plain water still ice cold because it couldn’t stay in my stomach long enough to warm up. I had a picc line. It really really sucks. You are amazing and seem to be handling it really well. People will say idiotic and inane things. Just ignore it. You aren’t obligated to give anyone an explanation.
There is a wonderful website that was really helpful for me. I think it’s just hyperemesis.org.
Also, one weird suggestion you have probably already heard; the combo of ice cold lemonade and plain potato chips can really abate the nausea so you can eat healthier food.

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smarlo November 28, 2013 at 12:39 pm

because I’m a twisted individual, I would say, “no more day drinking for me!” and walk on by. But, that’s just me.

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Enna November 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm

OP, I like the admin’s advice here. As a woman myself if I heard another woman being ill in the toliet pregnancy would be something that would cross my mind. The admin is right that vomitting can make other people feel sick through assiocation – it’s a natural reflex. When I was at primary school I remember one of my classmates being sick and another one said “I feel sick now!” with an akward smile on his face – he wasn’t sick just one of those things. When I was a child my sister was sick and I followed suit! Try not to worry about it too much. Just say “pregnancy” and most people should understand.

As for people who say “it’s all in your head” that is so patronising. The mind can be a very powerful thing especially when someone is under stress or has been trumatiesd. For example someone scared that his blood pressure is high and as a result it goes higher – it’s perfectly natural to be scared when your blood pressure is high it’s just typical it has such a negative side effect!

For people who think being sick is a good way to lose weight – tell them it is unpleasent if you want to: for those who say you shouldn’t take medication as it could “kill your baby” – I would respond that I always follow my Dr’s instructions – not all meds are bad for pregnant women and unborn babies some are life saving. As for those who suggest ginger ale, they are trying to be supportive and helpful.

OP I wish you all the best.

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DGS November 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm

HG is horrific. I hope you’re feeling better soon? And that you have a healthy, safe and timely delivery! Bathrooms are for bodily functions
You owe nobody an explanation.

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The Elf November 28, 2013 at 1:56 pm

If you’re 6 months pregnant, the reason why you are throwing up should be obvious to everyone in the bathroom with you the moment you emerge from the stall!

I think everyone has had a day where they’re making a run for the public bathroom for either the up end or the down end. Neither is pleasant, both are obvious to everyone else. It’s part of being human. No apologies or explanations are needed. Don’t feel guilty, and if you must say something, a simple self-deprecating comment like “I can’t wait until this baby arrives!” or “Sorry – lunch didn’t sit so well” is fine. But anything you say invites a response, so I think it’s best just to muster your dignity and don’t make any sort of comment. Any responses from the peanut gallery can just simply be smiled at and dismissed. I agree with Raven & admin – people say strange stuff when they are uncomfortable. There’s likely no thought – or truth – behind what they say.

I’m just astounded that since you had HG with the first baby that there was a second pregnancy! 9 months of nausea…. wow, that’s dedication to the cause!

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Drjuliebug November 28, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I occasionally have subconjunctival hemorrhages, which aren’t serious but look awful — suddenly it will look like I have the world’s worst case of pinkeye. If I’m anywhere in public and sunglasses aren’t an option, I usually let people know what the problem is, that it’s not contagious, and that my physician and my optometrist know about it and haven’t found any cause for concern. That gets past the whole issue pretty quickly.

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Kate November 28, 2013 at 5:15 pm

OP, I wouldn’t even worry about justifying your throwing up, therefore opening yourself up to comments. It’s a bathroom – gross bodily functions are going to happen in there! If I get bowel problems in a public bathroom, I don’t go around to everyone saying “Irritable bowel syndrome!”, I just leave quickly.

People might be shrinking away because they have a phobia of throwing up (I’m one of those people). That’s their issue, not yours, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it.

Best wishes for the rest of your pregnancy!

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Rebecca November 28, 2013 at 5:25 pm

Wow, the most I might say to someone who was barfing would be, “Are you OK? Is there anything I can get you?” But I agree with admin, you owe nobody an explanation. Even if I thought someone had a horrible flu, it would not occur to me that I should be worried about catching it.

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Anonymouse November 28, 2013 at 5:49 pm

I’m with a few others on here, I would definitely be shrinking away a bit, because I simply cannot handle the sight or smell of vomit (Ironic, as I work in a kindergarten class where the kids are constantly getting sick). Don’t stress yourself out about explaining, and by all means ignore the peanut gallery. Congratulations on your new little one!

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kingsrings November 28, 2013 at 6:32 pm

I’m one of those people that is totally grossed out by vomiting. The sight, sound, and smell of it makes me dry-heave. The worst was when I worked office for an assisted-living senior home, and one weekend, the stomach flu went around with our residents. Some of them had problems getting to the bathroom in time because of their medical states, so it was awful to have to be around it all day long. That being said, vomit happens, it’s a natural body function that can’t be avoided. It’s rude of people to question anyone or act like they’re a horrible person.

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Cat November 28, 2013 at 7:31 pm

As one who threw up in front of her entire sophomore year typing class, I feel your pain. I was in the midst of telling Mrs. Starford that I needed to be excused when I proved it to her and all others.
A response to anyone who says, “It’s all in your head.” is, “Your little talk with your mother is way over-due. It’s definitely not in my head. That’s not how it works.”
For the rest, “Now I know how Kate Middleton felt. This is awful.” or “Ginger ale makes me vomit.” or “I wish you could have this too-there are just some things we cannot share with others, but give me your number and I’ll ask my husband how he feels about it.”
For the record, this too will pass and will become a distant memory. With two little ones, you won’t have a lot of free time to dwell on the past.

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SadieMae November 28, 2013 at 8:36 pm

I had HG and delivered a gorgeous, healthy nine-pound daughter — and because I never wanted to go through that again, adopted my second child! All is well in the end. When people said stupid things to me I just nodded and smiled and tried to remind myself they were trying to help (sometimes this was easier than other times!). I agree with Admin, bathrooms are for the emission of whatever you need to emit and you don’t need to be embarrassed AT ALL. Best wishes on your new baby!

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Elizabeth November 28, 2013 at 8:59 pm

You really don’t owe any explanations at all. Trying to set minds at ease that you are not contagious is generous but really, do not over-explain as it can come across as defensive. And I agree with Admin that some people may hurry away just to give you privacy. I had a co-worker that was very ill throughout her pregnancy. I would simply leave, go to the other bathroom or come back later. I was hugely sympathetic but also knew I couldn’t do anything to help her.

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EllenS November 28, 2013 at 10:20 pm

No explanation required. Actually, in a women’s bathroom in the daytime, I usually assume pregnancy first. In any event, illness and involuntary bodily functions have an automatic exemption from etiquette, always. Obviously if you could “help it”, you would not throw up at all-nobody would. No harm, no foul, no apology needed.
You have enough to deal with taking care of yourself, a three year old, and the one on the way …you don’t have to take care of all the other adults in the world, too! You are not doing anything wrong, and have no reason to feel guilty.

Hope you have an easier time the rest of your pregnancy and manage your health well, and best wishes for you and the baby.

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Mary November 29, 2013 at 12:11 am

Seems like the OP might not understand why people are suggesting she drink ginger ale – for some people, ginger helps suppress nausea as do carbonates drinks.

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Margo November 29, 2013 at 7:48 am

I agree, you don’t owe anyone an explanation – I would not say anything to anyone unless they ask whether you are OK, in which case ‘pregnancy’ is fine as a reply.

To those making rude comments I think that “I wish it were that simple” would be fine for the “you should try x” or “it’s all in your head” type comments. I think for any comment such as “medications will kill your baby” that an astonished look and a comment such as “What an extraordinary thing to say to a total stranger!” is an entirely appropriate response – such comments are well over the line and it is entirely appropriate to let someone know that their comment is offensive and inappropriate. If you think they are ‘just’ clueless then “I do what my doctor recommends”

A lot of people do have a visceral response to seeing or hearing someone else vomiting and will shirk away or look horrified – I think in most cases it’s not a fear of contagion, it’s just a automatic, involuntary response (and at 6 months along, I think most people will be able to see that you are pregnant and make the connection themselves) that doesn’t mean you need to give them an explanation. I do hope that the rest of your pregnancy goes s smoothly as possible.

Mary@33 – I think OP knows exactly why people are suggesting she tried ginger ale – I think what she was saying is that she feels as though people think she’s stupid if, they are in effect implying that despite 6 months of vomiting she hadn’t thought to try one of the best known and simplest remedies for morning sickness..

OP – I

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Alex November 29, 2013 at 8:39 am

I am 39 weeks in my second pregnancy with HG. I’m jealous that you can go out in public! I was home bound till about 22 weeks with HG, and my trusty “IV pole” my 2 year old’s favorite word.

When I was able to go out more, I was throwing up a lot less, but I certainly heard my share of these comments. They really sting! I am ashamed to say I didn’t handle them all with aplomb. Icy stares, and sarcastic “gee, I never thought to try ginger. Nor my OB, or the ER or the multiple other medical providers who are helping to manage my care. You are truly a genius” Not my finest hour, I admit. I wouldn’t recommend that avenue.

As for the ‘in your head’ comments, These people, usually women, really cheese me off. They usually follow it up with stories about they were glowing and perfect while pregnant. Birds sang as they passed by, and their farts smelled like cherries in the summer sun. I simply walked away from these people, usually while they were still talking. I left my husband to deal with them (if we knew them socially for example) or just left them babbling to themselves if they were a nosy busy-body in public.

Good luck! Keep your eye on the prize! (that’s what I do to get through the days. That, and the marvels of modern medicine(

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Huh November 29, 2013 at 8:48 am

I too had HG through my two pregnancies (and the last one I had to be hospitalized at one point, making me decide 2 kids was my limit.) So you have every bit of my sympathy, poor OP! And no, ginger ale didn’t help me either, although wearing Seabands (for motion sickness) helped A LITTLE, so if you haven’t tried that…

I would say the same thing as others have, you don’t have to go into a lengthy explanation, just “I’m pregnant” and most people will completely understand.

I hope you feel better soon, and congratulations!

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Wendy B. November 29, 2013 at 10:57 am

One can throw up for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with illness. I found out by accident that bananas alone in the morning don’t like me very well…half way to church I had to ask my husband to pull over. Banana gone, me happy. I think backing away from someone who has just vomited is instinctual and you shouldn’t take it personally. If someone comments, just say for you it’s normal and you know how to deal already, thankyouverymuch.

And CONGRATULATIONS! Maybe you aren’t hearing that enough at the moment. :D

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just4kicks November 29, 2013 at 12:25 pm

If anyone sticks their nose into your private business with intrusive and rude questions/comments, I’d be sorely tempted to wipe my hand across my mouth and then extend it to the obnoxious person to shake their hand while saying, “darn this flu!” They will run away from you!!!!
Congratulations on your precious New Bundle of Joy!!!! Hope labor and delivery are a breeze!

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Jenn50 November 29, 2013 at 12:44 pm

I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time. I always feel embarrassed when I have to throw up in earshot of others, so I understand the awkwardness.

I used to be a sympathetic barfer, which was a truly unfortunate trait for someone in my position as an EMT. I could handle all sorts of awful trauma and stress, but the sound of someone throwing up was more than I could take. It IS usually possible to train yourself not to “sympathy spew” if you’re exposed to it often enough, but medically induced vomiting is not something you can control, or “all in your head” as some simplistic fools suggest. If I heard you expelling in a washroom, I’d ask if you needed help, but be very grateful to leave hastily if you said no. I’ve learned to keep very strong mint gum in my pocket, and to use several pieces at once if I think someone nearby is going to erupt. Tightening the muscles around your mouth can help to suppress your gag reflex, and breathing through your mouth helps, because you smell less, and can focus on the sound of the air whistling through your clenched teeth rather than the retching sounds. I also try to focus on some other thought, rather than what I’m seeing/hearing/smelling. All of this only helps with sympathetic spewers, not with those having a medical reason to throw up, but the little tricks have helped me tremendously when a patient starts going. Especially considering I have to examine the contents for signs of bleeding, medication remnants, etc.

Hope you feel better soon, OP. Congratulations on the impending joy!

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L November 29, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Poor OP! Dealing with all this sickness while running errands with a 3-year-old? That’s a lot to go through! I agree with Admin — last thing on your mind should be any perceived etiquette issues having to do with vomiting in a public restroom! That’s one of the many things they’re there for. I like the idea of a one-word: “Pregnancy” or “Morning sickness” response, if you feel any response is called for. I know if I heard a woman (particularly a pregnant woman) vomiting, my only thought would be for the mom-to-be’s comfort. I think most people feel that way!

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Miss-E November 29, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Speaking as someone who hates the sound/smell/etc of vomit, someone who would rather hold their pee for six hours than pee in a bathroom where someone is loudly vomiting…even I would never, EVER hold it against someone for being vomiting in a bathroom! Honestly, I wouldn’t even hold it against someone for vomiting anywhere. There are a few exceptions but in general, most people don’t vomit on purpose. And certainly not for the purpose of upsetting someone else.

I agree with all the other posters, don’t even open yourself up to advice by offering an explanation. If someone really can’t handle it, they can just plug their ears, hold their nose and get over it (which is what I do).

I hope you feel better soon.

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Alie November 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

You’d think people would be more understanding now, given that the Duchess of Cambridge, with access to the best doctors around, had to be hospitalized for this.

There’s this weird thing that complete strangers think they somehow can control a pregnant woman, and scold her about medications and such. It’s really weird and people need to mind their own business.

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Whodunit November 30, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I suffered from this too BUT if you can take a moment, I’d listen more to sage advice. I was so busy trying to defend myself that I would miss the suggestions! I tried everything too OP but I kept listening to others who had gone thru it and eventually found something that worked. If i had just gotten mad and not heard the advice I may have struggled longer–different things work for different girls.

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Angel November 30, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Oh my goodness! I knew someone what that condition during her pregnancy–it was a teacher I worked with. The poor woman had to take an early maternity leave because she couldn’t keep anything down and it was affecting her teaching. Thankfully once she gave birth she was fine, but my goodness she had a rough time of it :-(.

OP there is no need to explain especially now that you are probably showing. I couldn’t imagine saying anything more than “are you ok?” Giving advice would be the last thing on my mind. But a good response would be, thank you so much for your concern, my doctor is keeping an eye on it. And leave it at that. Best wishes for a healthy, happy outcome. And I hope these next 3 months pass by quickly. I used to actually chew on ginger root and eat saltines for my nausea during pregnancy. Much more effective than ginger ale.

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Annoyed in America December 1, 2013 at 1:43 am

First off, I am sorry you are having to deal with this. It’s difficult on both a physical and emotional level. You are handling it well. If people give advice, just smile and say “Thanks for your concern.” They are merely trying to be helpful. As to public vomiting, just say you are pregnant, so they don’t think you have some communicable disease. Also, realize you are full of raging hormones and are not at your best psychologically right now. Don’t get upset over a comment or two. Just smile and go about your business. This too shall pass. :)

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acr December 2, 2013 at 10:02 am

OP – 99% of the people who witness your distress are sorry for you, not judging you. that 1% – meh. Who cares about them?

I agree with the Admin – the people who are hurrying away are doing so to give you privacy and/or because the sound/smell of vomiting makes them feel ill. Not because they are worried about you being contageous. I’m certainly not going to sit down and do my business in a stall next to a vomiting person – they are already in enough distress and I don’t want the sounds/smells of my business to add to that distress.

As for the ginger ale being a silly suggestion – it is, but at the same time, I have met all sorts of people who don’t know things that I consider basic, and even in my mid-thirties I am learning things that other people consider basic! I might be thinking, “There’s a tiny chance this lady hasn’t heard that ginger, ginger ale, etc can help calm your tummy, so I’ll make the suggestion, because if she hasn’t heard of it it could be exactly what she needs!”

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AMC December 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm

This post is kind of timely for me. I went out with some girlfriends over the weekend to a bar to see a band. This was a rare occasion for me. I’m not much of a partier or a drinker. In fact, I volunteered to be the DD. I drank only pineapple juice all night; not a drop of alcohol. But I started feeling ill after a while and had to high-tail it to the ladies room where I got sick. It was pretty audible and I’m sure very obvious to the other women waiting to use the restroom and probably thought I was sloshed. I thought for a moment about trying to explain that I wasn’t drunk, just had food poisoning or something. But then I remembered this post and decided it was none of their business. I’m feeling much better now.

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Dust Bunny December 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

“I wish I had morning sickness . . . ” WTF is wrong with people??

For the record, some historians think that HG is what killed Charlotte Bronte, in the days before fluid replacement. This isn’t something to mess with. I’m sorry you’re going through this but I’m glad to hear the baby is doing well.

You don’t owe anyone an explanation, especially since, at six months, you’re probably visibly pregnant. My guess is that the people who are hurrying away feel badly that they caught you at an awkward moment, or are sensitive to the sounds of vomiting (sorry, but a lot of people are) more than they’re afraid you’re contagious. Most of us don’t go out in public when we’re that sick, anyway, so my immediate assumption wouldn’t be that you’ve got the stomach flu.

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Library Diva December 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this, OP, and I wish you a safe and healthy pregnancy. I agree with admin — just say nothing, and if people start in with advice, just tell them thanks and walk away.

I’ve always believed that public bathroom etiquette requires you to act like you see nothing, smell nothing and (unless you are being directly addressed) hear nothing. You don’t owe anyone an explanation, and since these conversations seem to be bugging you, you don’t need to invite more of them when you have enough going on as it is. Congratulations on the baby!

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Bern821 December 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm

I was in the restroom at work one day and there was a woman obviously throwing up in another stall. As I washing my hands, there was a ‘break in the action’ so to speak – so I simply said “can I get you anything?” and her reply was “oh thank you, a couple of paper towels would be great”. I handed her a wet towel and a couple of dry ones over the door – and said “I hope you feel better”. I didn’t care wju she was vomitting – I just felt bad for her and tried to help in some small way.
Don’t feel like you have to explain yourself, OP – everyone throws up, and the bathroom is the place to do it!

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