Life Advice



Ask Amy: Serious illness is dismissed as psychosomatic

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: When I was pregnant with my first child, I was diagnosed with a condition called hyperemesis gravidarum.

It causes debilitating nausea, uncontrollable vomiting and dehydration, and in severe cases, can be life-threatening.

During the course of my pregnancy, I had to go to the ER eight times, and was admitted to the hospital for four days at one point.

HG also led to other pregnancy complications, and I delivered my son by emergency C-section 10 weeks early.

It was by far the most difficult thing either my husband or I have ever been through.

I am now pregnant with my second child, and thankfully am enjoying a normal pregnancy.


The problem is that my mother-in-law has taken my good health now as a “sign” that I was never really sick the first time.

She has expressed that my first pregnancy distress was really a psychological issue because I was “so afraid I wouldn’t have a healthy baby.”

I’m not sure why she says things like this, and it really upsets me when she raises the topic.

My husband says I need to learn that her opinions just don’t matter, but I’m still upset.


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