On Kate Middleton, Hyper-Nausea, and “Getting Crackered”

RD has been all about pregnancy this week, from Sarah Sentille’s re-visioning of the commandment to go forth, etc., in a passionate call for a planet-first ethic, to Sarah Morice-Brubaker’s close reading of Ross Douthat’s remarkable feat: a column devoted to the need for patriotic procreation that somehow elides the role of pregnant women in the whole matter.

And now my co-Editor, Evan Derkacz, writes (over at The Frisky—the competition!) to set the record straight: non-stop nausea during pregnancy cannot be relieved with crackers. 

Why? Because someone over at Gawker recently leapt at the chance to make fun of Princess Kate’s hospitalization for “hyperemesis gravidarum,” saying it’s “what they call regular old morning sickness when you’re a princess.” Which of course it’s not. 

Evan offers up some history, some media critique, and a glimpse into the toilet bowl at his house. The baby drops in a few weeks but Jac has been barfing since day one, defying all manner of well-meaning advice: ginger, carbs, no-carbs, crackers. Because it’s not morning sickness; it’s the-whole-time sickness. And it’s a medically acknowledged potentially dangerous complication.

Beyond an eloquent statement of co-feeling with his suffering wife, Evan’s essay is also a meditation on the way we roll around, in day to day life, with dried, cultural crap on our shoes. On a trip to France with Jac during which he was the sole ambulatory tourist, Evan wandered into an insight.

In one of the smaller, poorly kept churches a mural depicting fruit thieves Adam and Eve reminded me of one of G-d’s sentences: “To the woman he said, I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children.” Is it possible we still harbor, deep down and in wholly secular terms, the idea that the suffering associated with bearing a child is punishment for Original Sin?

Let us now go forth and check our shoes.

lisa@religiondispatches.org'

Lisa Webster is co-editor of Religion Dispatches. See her full bio here.