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“I Told My Adoptive Mum She Wouldn’t Understand My Fiance’s Hypermesis Gravidarum Because She’s Never Been Pregnant.”

 Trigger warning: infertility

As any woman who has ever had the misfortune of experiencing Hypermesis Gravidarum during pregnancy will tell you, it isn’t simply ‘morning sickness.’ Hypermesis Gravidarum, although it may sound like an incantation you’d hear muttered at Hogwarts, is characterised by nausea and vomiting so severe that women suffering from it find it hard to eat or drink enough. This can then lead to dehydration, weight loss and vitamin deficiencies, which as you can imagine are less than ideal when you are trying to grow a whole new person inside you. It can also have huge emotional, mental and physical impact on your health, as it can greatly impact normal daily activities and make it difficult or impossible to go to work or care for yourself or others. Hypermesis Gravidarum is thought to affect 1 in 100 pregnant women, and interestingly, a study has found, is more common in mothers carrying girls.

Unless you’ve ever suffered the debilitating symptoms of Hypermesis Gravidarum it can be hard to comprehend how difficult it can be, and many women report feeling frustrated and misunderstood when it is compared to morning sickness. One man recently took to Reddit to share a run in his pregnant fiancé recently had with is adoptive mum who thought that his partner was being overly dramatic about her illness.

I (28m) was adopted by my mother. She was incapable of conceiving a child after having a hysterectomy due to a horrible accident. She’s grieved her uterus and biological children so it’s not a subject we bring up.

My fiancé is 27 weeks pregnant and has diagnosed hyperemesis gravidarum. We just got a diagnosis finally after no one was listening too, and we are trying to get her body back on track, but somethings are too much.

We had my mother and father over last night for dinner. My mother wanted to teach my fiancé how to cook an “authentic Italian meal.” After many apologies, my fiancé said she couldn’t take the smell, and went upstairs. My mother is short tempered, she’s old fashion Italian, and is very strict, and judgmental. She began to go on and on about how you never treat a guest that way, especially an in law, and how she had driven 40 minutes to come do this.

I tried to explain the situation, and she insisted my fiancé was just being over dramatic, so I said “you wouldn’t understand ma because you’ve never been pregnant.” My mom burst into tears, and they left. My dad called me and said he agreed with me, but I needed to apologize bc my mom had locked herself in the bedroom for the night crying. I of course feel bad for my mom but she doesn’t understand. Aita?

People in the comment section were quick to point out that he and his mother both suck in this situation. While the older woman’s lack of empathy for her sick daughter-in-law was misinformed and unkind, he had delivered a low blow that was uncalled for. Here’s some of the things they had to say:


Your mom was out of line and definitely needed to be set straight. You didn’t just set her straight though, you went for the jugular. Damn, dude. I’m not sure there is a greater weakness for women who want to conceive yet are unable to. You say you feel bad, but I’m really not sure you feel bad enough. I don’t even like my mother and I still wouldn’t say that to her. (LooselyBound)



It’s also a silly point. He himself can never be pregnant yet he understands just fine. His mom was judgemental and rude but not because she never got pregnant.. (sportxsport)

Yes. I had HG and was told by many formerly pregnant people how they too had morning sickness and it wasnt that bad. They had been pregnant and yet they didnt understand. It’s an empathy thing, has nothing to do with having a functioning uterus. (maplestriker)


You could have told your mother that she was being overly dramatic or that how she was acting was no way to be a guest or treat a host. There are many ways you could have gone besides dropping the bomb. Also, many people can empathize with health conditions they haven’t experienced and most people who get pregnant don’t experience hyperemesis gravidarum so it wouldn’t have likely changed how she acted had she ever been pregnant.

Apologize to your mom. You can make clear that you have not changed your position about how she was acting, but that you are sorry for what you said. (ButterscotchFast2509)

My mum was always at the other end of these “you wouldn’t understand as you’ve never been pregnant” comments as the mother of adopted children.

Then when she did get pregnant and had a child by emergency c section due to the baby’s life being in danger it became “you wouldn’t understand, you’ve never given birth”.

It’s just such an awful thing to say. People are capable of empathy and understanding of situations even if they haven’t experienced them personally. Obviously OP’s mum was being awful, but her hysterectomy has nothing to do with it. (eGreen612)

Some people joined the conversation to share their own experience of Hypermesis Gravidarum, and impress on people how dangerous the condition could be for pregnant women.

Honestly, NTA. Hyperemesis is no joke, ESPECIALLY on a first pregnancy. People who haven’t experienced it firsthand or from seeing their partners have it will not understand. HG is deadly.

EDIT: Having it in a first pregnancy means subsequent pregnancies are more likely to have the same complications or worse (Accomplished_Area311)

I distinctly remember the day I got admitted to the hospital the second time during my second pregnancy. It was December 5th. Same the the duchess of Wales got admitted for HG and the whole world was talking about how they too had morning sickness and didnt go to the hospital because they weren’t princesses.

Meanwhile I, a commoner if you’ve ever seen one, was laying in a hospital bed unable to care for my older child. Were it not for the infusion my child and I couldve died. But sure, go on about how ginger helped you. (maplestriker)


NTA. You told her what you had to tell her. I had HG for the entirety of my one and only pregnancy, and it was the reason there was never another one. And what you told her was the truth.

My ex MIL was a similar kind of person. We were all at the table for Christmas dinner and I needed to go puke RIGHT THEN. She grabbed me by my arm to keep me from running to the bathroom because “It’s rude to just jump up from the table like that.” So I puked in her lap. (No_Ante3lope_6604)

Other people saw the unfortunate incident as indicative of the mother’s overbearing attitude in general and urged the man to set very clear boundaries with his mother now, before the arrival of his child.

ESH- your mum is being ridiculous and rude and it’s pretty important you set boundaries about how she treats your fiancé right now, otherwise you risk a very overbearing grandmother.

That being said, next time you need to just stick to the facts “(name) has a pregnancy condition called HG. It makes her hyper sensitive to smells and she’s sick often. She isn’t being dramatic.” When she comes back with criticism, stand by your partner without being hurtful- “mum, I’ve told you that (name) is not being rude, she is unwell. Please stop making comments about her”. (TheHappinessPT)

ESH. Your mom shouldn’t be talking about your fiancé that way, and you also hurt her with what you said even if it wasn’t your intention. Talk to her. Personally, yes I’d apologize. But I’d also make it clear to her that she can’t talk about your fiancee that way. Imagine when the baby is born?? She’ll be judgmental of every decision you both make as parents. I know it’s easier said than done, but some serious boundaries need to be figured out before baby is born. Otherwise your fiancée is going to be the upset one, and that’s not ideal. (CApizzakitchen)

NTA. Your mom was being rude to someone in their own home. I’d have straight up asked her to leave. You’re not going to come into my home and be rude to my spouse, pregnant or not. I have the feeling this isn’t the first time your mother has been rude or nasty to your wife. Good for you for sticking up for your wife! (Rojita369)

A few  commenter also indicated that they felt the mother may need therapy to help her process her unresolved grief and trauma, and that it was jealousy causing her to be so unkind to her son’s pregnant partner.


I’ve never been pregnant and I understand perfectly well. Your mom ALSO understands perfectly well. These things are COMMON SENSE not something you have to be pregnant to understand. We’ve all seen pregnancy nausea on movies and TV shows if not in person. Only a total idiot would not understand something so basic and widely known about.

Is your mom an idiot? Nah. Your mom knew perfectly well, she just wanted to be a bully to a pregnant woman, probably out of jealously that she can’t be pregnant, and then turned on the water works to victimize herself when she was caught so she wouldn’t look like the giant asshole she actually is. If anyone needs to apologize it’s your mom. She tried to force sickness on a pregnant woman out of spite and then acted like a bully. Your mom might be hella toxic with a mental disorder. (ManagementFinal3345)


Fellow adoptee here! You spoke the truth. It sounds like she needed therapy years ago to deal with her infertility. This is not a burden you need to carry for her.

Were you perhaps a little blunt for her liking? Sure, but she wasn’t listening to the polite explanations. If she can’t respect the mother of your child’s medical diagnosis, why should you respect hers?

Maintain your boundaries, support your lovely fiancé, and consider talking to a therapist specializing in family of origin/adoptees. Having a child can trigger a whole lot of feelings about your adoption and it sounds like your adoptive parents made you carry their own emotional load.

NTA even a little bit. (KookyDogs5321)

What do you think? Do you think he took things too far? How would you deal with someone like his mother?

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Jolene enjoys writing, sharing and connecting with other like-minded women online – it also gives her the perfect excuse to ignore Mount-Washmore until it threatens to bury her family in an avalanche of Skylander T-shirts and Frozen Pyjama pants. (No one ever knows where the matching top is!) Likes: Reading, cooking, sketching, dancing (preferably with a Sav Blanc in one hand), social media, and sitting down on a toilet seat that one of her children hasn’t dripped, splashed or sprayed on. Dislikes: Writing pretentious crap about herself in online bio’s and refereeing arguments amongst her offspring.

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