Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Nose (Only for the strong of stomach. On which I dwell on morning-sickness... at length...)

This time around, one of my pregnancy symptoms has been exaggerated out of all sense of proportion.

You read in the books that certain smells can make you feel sick, to avoid certain cooking smells, but with this, baby no. four, it's gone waaaaay beyond that. It feels very much as if I am a giant, walking ultra-sensitive nose.

A giant, walking nose moreover who finds all of my old favourite smells absolutely disgusting.

My favourite candles: gross. My favourite soaps: Ugg. My moisturiser: Nooooo! My shampoo, conditioner, laundry-powder, deodorant - all of the brands I habitually use now smell completely sickening.

Beloved gave me some new candles and smelly stuff for my birthday (a week before The Sickness began) and we had to put them all in the shed for The Duration.  I went out to put the compost in the bin and the smell lunged at me to attack. We've had to pack away the bedroom curtains as there's just something about them...

Interestingly, the smells of nature don't effect me in the same way. The smell of the basil in the garden, of eucalyptus, of growing things, all make me feel marginally better. Man made scents however? Uggh.

It makes me wonder if there's something in them inherently unhealthy.

In the same way that I tend to try to view The Sickness as trying to keep me from foods and drinks I should avoid (caffeine, damn it, although unfortunately wine still smells delicious and I can't look at feta and goats cheese without feeling slobbery and mournful) I'm wondering if my body's intense distaste for synthetic smells is because it views them as suspect.

Having said that, although the man-made scented things make me feel sick, it's the Other Smells that have me running for the bucket. The nappies. The dog-bone-breath. The toilet someone forgot to flush. The heavy sweat that comes from mowing the grass in Queensland heat. The pee-soaked sheets when the wee one has an accident. All the smells that are a constant in a busy house of kids and dogs.

Walking past the outdoor bin at a friend's house did it once. Opening our own bin did it once. As did opening the fridge and going into the laundry. I'm literally scared to go into the kitchen. Because... smells. Smells I'm hardly aware of when I'm not sick, and I'm not really sure are all that strong. It's been awhile since the smell of nappies bothered me. A long, long while.

I'm on the mend. A lot more things look like food now. I no longer wander the supermarket going does that look like food? No? Does that? Not a chance. That? I really don't think so.

It is a lot less painful throwing up if you've eaten half a pizza or a big bowl of porridge as opposed to a few slices of cucumber or watermelon. Throwing up on a empty stomach is wretched, so as well as enjoying food glorious food, it's also such a relief not being wracked for ages for bile.

Being the Nose thing has made me consider. Is this what it is like for people with migranes triggered by smell? I'll definitely be more cautious about the scents I wear in future. As it is, there's a perfume that always gives me a headache, pregnant or not... With Giggle-Bear I brought strongly scented body lotion into the hospital, as a pick-me-up after the birth. I didn't notice that it effected her, but now I wonder what a baby used to nothing but amniotic fluid thinks of the assault of smells in the world. Babies do have a sense of smell - they're drawn to the smell of the mummy milk... and while none of my three had any problem nursing, it does make me wonder.

How common is an intense awareness of smell, and how much should the rest of us consider it, in a world of so many man-made, synthetic smells that we coat ourselves with everyday.

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