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(mild) Emetophobia fear of vomit and children - how to reconcile this?

(7 Posts)
Mammanat222 Wed 05-Nov-14 09:58:45

Sorry if I am putting this in the wrong section.

I don't mean to trivialise mental health issues but this is fast becoming a problem for me.

I have always been mildly Emetophobic, had a few instances when I was young that really effected me and since then I have always been at the very least a bit freaked out if someone even mentions feeling sick.

I don't fit the bill of having proper Emetophobia but I certain have a lot of traits.

I have managed to get to the age of 34 with no real major incidents of panics / meltdowns.

I have a 2 year old DS and recently I have become increasingly anxious about him getting sick. It's never been a massive issue - I had no morning sickness with him (am almost 30 weeks with number 2 and again no MS) and he wasn't / isn't a sickies child. We've had maybe 2 instances of him having a sickness bug.

In recent months I have been really worried about any little change in DS and think he's going to be ill? So if he is a little bit off his food I am on tenterhooks. If he is a little bit off colour then I watch him like a hawk.

Doesn't help that yesterday DS had a dodgy poo and was off his food and today he has thrown up everywhere, I had already left for work by then and OH assures me DS is fine, was sick but isn't "ill" and I am still at work but on red alert to leave if I need too.

So I was right yesterday to be worried about him being ill?? As opposed to allaying my fears I think the fact I was so worried about him yesterday [I had him in with me last night and spent most of the night checking on him] and he was sick means I am just going to get even more paranoid.

I know kids get ill, and I always thought my love / mothering instinct would overshadow my stupid phobia but it hasn't?

In-fact I am getting worse.

A few things to add.

* DS was poorly last winter with a virus (not vomit related) and we ended up in hospital for 3 nights. So there is always that worry playing on my mind
* at my 20 week scan with current pregnancy an issue flagged up and could have been related to me having passed an infection to the baby (I was screened and this wasn't he case) but it did make me quite obsessive about germs / cleanliness / being around people who have illness [colds and the like]

I am currently sat at my desk at work in tears feeling like a shit Mum for not being with my son. the worst part is I know he's better with his Daddy as I'd have just been useless.

I don't want to pass these issues onto my kids?

What is the solution though?

Any thoughts / experiences / words of wisdom much appreciated.


shaska Wed 05-Nov-14 13:06:52

Didn't want to leave you unanswered but I can't offer a solution except to say:

- Do NOT feel like a shit mum. Your DH will do a great job, you are pregnant and thus have an even better reason to avoid exposure to a bug, plus your son will be fine. You were right to notice your son might've been coming down with something, but please do try not to listen to your brain telling you that the 'something' is terrifying. I know that's hard though.

- It's ok for one or other parent to be better in certain situations. It really is. Don't be so hard on yourself.

- I have emetophobia, and it's no fun. There's a thread on here about it, which is full of supportive and helpful advice, so I'd recommend posting in there. It's not uncommon and nothing to be ashamed of.

- I actually think that the fact that your phobia has focused on a fear of your son being ill is a sign of you being a deeply lovely person - mine is far more selfish, I don't care who gets sick, as long as I don't have to have anything to do with it and it isn't me!

Badvoc123 Wed 05-Nov-14 13:11:48

I recommend "thrive" available on amazon.
Really helped me.

Mammanat222 Wed 05-Nov-14 14:44:52

Awww shaska, that made the tears come back!!!

Will look for the thread and thanks for the book recommendation Badvoc.


carriewintermeadow Wed 05-Nov-14 20:45:44

I've struggled with this for years and can understand how you feel. My husband is great and deals with any illness, I have other strengths wink Feel free to pm me if you need to talk smile

Badvoc, thanks for the book recommendation. I've just downloaded it with my Amazon trial prime membership.

mrstiggy Wed 05-Nov-14 21:00:53

I can sympathise with you OP. I have emetophobia and 3 children and it's a very real worry of mine. I'm better now than I was, in my late teens I was very nearly housebound due to the panic attacks I had when I went out in case I came across someone with a stomach bug or suddenly became ill. I still find in moments of stress I begin to panic that I feel sick, and hearing one of the kids mention feeling ill makes me feel so bloody anxious I can hardly concentrate on anything else.
I take comfort from the fact that deep down I know that if one of the kids are ill I CAN cope with it despite my internal revulsion on and fear. When my kids have been sick in the past I have cleaned them and been able to comfort them and it's ok. My kids handle it fine, I handle it ok, nothing really bad happens. The fear is worse than the reality. And if they are going to be ill then no amount of worry in the world will change that. So I just keep on keeping on. Also I try not to get hung up on being sterile all over. I've decided that I'd rather have kids with a robust immune system and therefore less likely to get ill than kids in a bubble where the slightest germ will trouble them. Whether or not it's worked or just luck i don't know but so far my kids are never really ill at all.
So don't feel bad. You are not alone in feeling this way.

Mammanat222 Fri 07-Nov-14 15:22:41

Thanks for the words of wisdom!

Sorry I hadn't checked back for a few days.

DS hasn't been ill per se so imagine my surprise when I woke up at 1.30am this morning and he had thrown up in his sleep [he was in with me as OH is away]. It wasn't too much but enough to get the heart racing.

However I was fine, managed to clean DS and bed and felt quite calm. I have been watching him like a hawk all day though and do feel on edge.

I think for me a lot of it is the anticipation? If I know someone is feeling unwell then I am literally waiting for them to actually get sick? With DS I just know when he is off colour and I always assume it will end up in vomit - I know occasionally it will of course.

It doesn't help that OH has had two really bad sickness bugs himself this year. One so bad I couldn't be in the house with him!!! I took DS and we walked the streets for 8 hours. Adults being ill is horrendous.

I don't actually have many worries about being sick myself - I am almost 30 weeks pregnant so of course don't want to catch anything at the moment - but my phobia is mainly to do with others being ill in my proximity.

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