When Pregnancy Doesn’t Go As Expected

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Metlife Insurance. All opinions are 100% mine.


My Disability Benefits Story

Pregnancy is supposed to be an exciting time.

Pregnant women are supposed to glow, feel amazing and energized, and spend their pregnancy preparing for their child to arrive.

But it doesn’t happen like that for all of us.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I immediately felt like I was hit with a ton of bricks.

Everyone describes morning sickness as being normal and a first trimester hurdle, but what I wasn’t expecting was to be sick throughout my entire pregnancy.

I’m one of the 1-2% women who developed Hyperemesis Gravidarum while pregnant. Hyperemesis Gravidarium (also called “HE” and “HG”) is a pregnancy complication that causes it’s sufferers to experience severe nausea and vomiting, which can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and feelings of weakness, which are all dangerous for pregnancies.

Throughout my pregnancy, no amount of nausea treatments or medications could stop me from throwing up multiple times a day. I was even prescribed medication intended for chemotherapy patients and it wasn’t enough.

My doctor banned me from driving as I couldn’t get through a 15 minute drive without throwing up. Taking the bus was worse because I would have to get off and be sick in a plastic bag on the side of the road if the ride got too bumpy or there were any smells – cigarette smoke, perfume, food, etc.

Eventually, being sick up to 20 times a day became an issue in my work place. My supervisor gave me as much leeway as he could, but since HG is largely misunderstood and many companies aren’t set up to allow employees to take such frequent breaks throughout the day, I received two written notices due to my condition.

After talking with my doctor and my benefits provider, I decided the best thing was to go on sick leave at five months pregnant. Not only was my job at risk, but I was often so weak by the end of a workday that I could barely walk, let alone make a healthy meal for myself once I got home. I needed to focus on having as healthy of a pregnancy as possible without the added stress.

Luckily, having disability leave allowed me to take a much-needed break from my intense (13 hour a day) job, without adding financial pressure just before welcoming my daughter.

My HG didn’t disappear, but putting less stress on myself and my body eased many of the symptoms and I was able to focus my energy on taking care of myself and preparing for my daughter, rather than pushing myself to manage my symptoms enough to work.

I don’t even want to think about what the consequences would have been if I hadn’t had disability benefits, I am just so thankful that I had that option and that my doctor and benefits provider encouraged me to use them. 

The fact is, no one gets disability benefits hoping to use them.

It can be really hard to imagine your health or situation changing so drastically that you need to stop working altogether. But life can change quickly and without notice, and even planned lifestyle changes (like starting a family) can sometimes not go as expected.

By having and using my disability benefits, my pregnancy was healthier, I was less stressed out, and I was still able to cover expenses without touching the money I had set aside for my maternity leave.

My story is just one of thousands of stories from people who have experienced the positive side of disability benefits. I strongly encourage everyone – especially parents – to have a conversation with someone you trust about this important topic and to plan for the future. For more personal stories about the positive impacts of benefits, click here.

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