Morning Sickness at Mass
#1
Hi there,

I'm new to this forum (though hope to become a regular poster). So I hope that I'm posting in the correct place.

I'm 12 weeks pregnant with my first baby. For the last four Sunday Masses I've attended, I've had to leave early, to be sick.

The troubling thing is, that I mostly get morning sickness at Mass. (Happens at vigil Mass too). I feel fine, then as soon as Mass starts, I get headachey, feel like I'm going to faint, tend to do most of the Mass sitting, then the communion line is my cue to get up and dash to the bathroom to vomit. This means I've not received communion in a while.

I have had sickness at home, but it's never as regular at Mass. And only three home sicknesses compared to now a guaranteed Mass sickness.

I have a dispensation from my priest to eat wholegrain crackers before Mass on a Sunday, as these are supposed to alleviate morning sickness.

But I'm wondering if it is some sort of spiritual reaction to being at Mass. Is a demon trying to distract me from my greatest love? Has this happened to any other women?

Are there any good patron saints, other than Our Lady and St. Gerard Majella? Should I go to a healing service? I'll welcome any and all suggestions at this stage!

Many thanks, and God bless.
#2
I don't know if I am really qualified to answer your question, as I am neither a priest nor have I ever experienced a pregnancy (obviously). But in my youth, I had similar problems while serving in church as an altar boy….I never vomited but I nearly fainted several in several instances.

There might be a purely natural explanation for your problem.

Body and mind are very interconnected and the nausea can be triggered by psychosomatic stimuli. In In the case of morning sickness, this stimulus usually is the taste or smell of an unpleasant meal. But nausea can also be triggered by fearful thoughts or images in one's mind.

For example: you are going to mass and you know that there is a possibility that you might need to vomit during mass. When the mass begins, you start to imagine that it will happen during communion. You imagine the embarrassment, scandal, the priest's face. And every minute that passes the nausea gets worse and the scenario becomes more and more realistic. What you don't realize: the fear of the scenario is what triggers the nausea in the first place.

If this is the case, you don't need to be worried to much about the problem. It will most likely pass away after some time.
Of course, one can never totally rule out the possibility that a demon is involved. Be it as it may: the best strategy is always to stay humble, accept the current suffering with patience and plea for the Lord's assistance. Whatever you suffer at the moment, even if it is to abstain from His Body for some time, every suffering is always happening by His permission and is always intended for some greater good by His Divine Providence. 
#3
First, congratulations. Babies are a true blessing.

Next, I second what Josefsilouan said.

Finally, have you tried a different Mass? Perhaps it's a particular fragrance of incense, or carpet cleaner, or a mold in the church. This happened with my wife with our third child; our home parish was ok, her mom's parish gave her no problems, but my mom's 150 year old parish had a certain odor that made her ill.

#4
First... congratulations!

Second... I'm 10 weeks with #5, and while I don't typically vomit (I've only thrown up once across all my pregnancies, but I'm also not a puker), I get very very VERY nauseated. I know you said you've tried the vigil Mass, but is there yet another Mass you can try? I find mine is bad mid-morning, and in the evening once I get tired. Early morning is usually best for me for anything that requires me not getting nauseated... like handling meat (thank-you slow cooker) and receiving Communion. You are at 12 weeks, so the nausea in general should start letting up in the next week or two, although it might hang on (mine usually disappear between 12 and 14 weeks, although with baby #2 it held on to week #20).

Third... It's actually very common to feel ill during Mass while pregnant. I pretty much spend my entire pregnancies wishing I wasn't there. It's just the combination of the heat, the peoplishness, the smells, everything. Today we went to 11 a.m. instead of 9 a.m., and I wish I had just gotten up early and went to 9 because I really wanted to crawl into a hole and die. The earlier, and the cooler, the better, at least for me. I also find sitting instead of kneeling or standing helps. It's only temporary, so I don't feel bad about it.
#5
Congrats to you too, PM! :)
#6
Thank you for your replies and the lovely congratulations.

This seems to happen at any Mass, Co-incidentally three of the Masses have been at different parishes.

1. Mass on holiday in Florida.
2. Vigil Mass near my home in the UK.
3 and 4. Sunday morning masses (8:30am and 10:30am) at my "normal" parish.

So it's not necessarily a certain smell or congregation which triggers me.

Thank you for the advice to receive this with humility. At least I can easily get to Mass. And maybe God would prefer me to receive spiritual communion at this time. I used to joke "maybe my child is so happy at being close to Our Lord!".

Hopefully it will ease off soon, so I can participate in Mass fully.  :)
#7
There are two thoughts that may help you when meditating on your current situation:

1. In our Universe, there are two incredible, spectacular miracles that happen on a regular basis. The first is the transsubstantiation of Eucharist during mass and the subsequent communion. The second is the inbreathing of a human soul into a human body and the following formation of a person inside the mother's womb. You can't participate in the first one at the moment, but you are blessed with the second one.

2. Our Blessed Mother most likely experienced morning sickness when carrying Our Lord. And after His birth, she had to abstain 40 days from all public religious activity due to purity laws (although she was the most purest human being ever alive, next to Jesus). So in both your problems, the actual morning sickness and the temporal exclusion from a religious activity, you share in Our Lady's sorrows. Just pray to Her, she will show you how to handle it.
#8
If your morning sickness is worse in the morning, then perhaps you could attend Mass on Saturday evening instead?
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#9
I spent pretty much the entirety of my last two pregnancies with morning sickness.  So, these are some things that really worked for me:
  • sipping water helped with dizziness and helped some
  • tums - lots and lots of tums - I'm not kidding.  I think I ate more tums than food for a while.
  • ginger ale - lots of it 
  • molasses - Weird tip: molasses contains all kinds of B vitamins and other essential nutrients.  It can help balance you and alleviate some of your symptoms.  
  • Combine the last two and you get . . .  gingerbread cookies!  Yes, really.  They made life worth living.
Aside from saltines and wholegrain crackers, these things helped me get through.  Both times, I went through a period where I couldn't get to mass (bed rest stinks!).  I cried when father brought me communion at the hospital.  It had been over a month since the last time I had been able to receive.  

So, I say this from experience:
It's just a season in life and will pass.  Do your best.  Don't get too beat up about it.  Treat yourself gently and offer up those physical challenges.  It does get better - eventually.  You'll just be walking a baby around the back of mass for a while first.  Inevitably, mine wants to nurse just as the communion line starts . . .   That's the way of things.
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