Friday, 1 July 2016

Why I do what I do ...

If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that last year I completed my first triathlon to raise money for Pregnancy Sickness Support.

This year, I again wanted to do something to raise money for the charity and highlight the condition, hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) so I decided on my "Triple Challenge for Pregnancy Sickness Support". If I'm honest, when I embarked on my three challenges, I had doubts whether I should be doing it all. Was it too soon after asking for sponsorship for my triathlon? Would I end up annoying my friends and family who had been so generous in the past? Would people tire of hearing about my challenges? I still don't know the answers to those questions, but I sincerely hope not.

But then in May, I spoke at the Pregnancy Sickness Support Volunteer Conference and it gave me renewed confidence in what I'm doing and hoping to achieve.

I was privileged to meet some of the charity's fantastic volunteers who have all suffered from HG themselves. By far the hardest part of the conference was hearing the heartbreaking stories of women traumatised by their experience of pregnancy; women desperate for another child but petrified of being pregnant again; women told they must not have any more children because of HG; women unable to continue with much wanted pregnancies because HG made it impossible for them to look after their older children. But how truly inspiring it was that all those brave women are now so motivated by their own terrible experiences that they want to do something to make a difference to other sufferers and their families!

And that is all that I'm trying to do - to make a difference so that other women do not have to suffer in the same way that I, and so many others, have suffered in the past.

You only need to read some of the comments received in response to Pregnancy Sickness Support's joint study with BPAS into women's experiences of termination for severe pregnancy sickness, I could not survive another day, to realise the importance of the work being done by the charity to improve the treatment and care received by sufferers.

And then there is the feedback from sufferers who have been supported through their HG pregnancies by PSS and its volunteers:

"Thank you for everything you do - you have saved me and my baby’s life”
“I really honestly believe I would have died if it hadn't been for all support from PSS”
“I can't talk highly enough of the charity which acted as a lifeline for me.”

On 22 June, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) released the first National Guidelines for the Management of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy and Hyperemesis Gravidarum. This is an important step forward and will make a huge difference to sufferers, giving GPs the confidence and the knowledge to treat the condition effectively. Three of my fellow trustees co-authored the guidelines and dozens of the charity's volunteers commented and reviewed the guidelines while in development.

This is just one example of how Pregnancy Sickness Support is helping to shape the way sufferers are cared for. But this is just one step and there is a lot more work still to be done.

In one week's time I will attempt to swim 1 kilometre in open water in Lake Bala. Until 2 years ago I couldn't even swim a stroke of front crawl. One  year ago my 200m open water triathlon swim was a disaster - I panicked and ended up doing breaststroke (very slowly) most of the way and was exhausted at the end of it. I've been training hard for months in the pool and in open water to give myself the best chance of completing my second challenge. I really hope all my training pays off!

If you would like to sponsor me, my fundraising page is here. Thank you.

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