Emetophobia is the fear of vomit and vomiting. It is the fifth most common phobia out there, but one of the least talked about. Living with Emetophobia is hard enough, but combining Emetophobia and children is a guarantee that an emetophobe will face his or her fears.
One of the hardest things that individuals with Emetophobia face is dealing with a loved one being ill. It is especially hard for female emetophobes when they are forced to take care of their own children. Women with Emetophobia may even choose not to have children because of their fears of getting morning sickness and throwing up or the fear that their child will get sick and they will be the only one able to take care of this child.
I knew that eventually my daughter would be sick. I tried so hard not to think about it and just figured that I would somehow be able to handle my Emetophobia when it came time to take care of an ill child.
One of the worst places for an Emetophobia attack to occur is in a car. There is no escape. So when my daughter became ill, in an hour away from my house I was amazed that I did not lose it. My husband was driving, I was in the passenger seat, and my daughter was in the back seat.
She had been a little out of sorts all weekend, but I did not think she would be sick. I didn't even hear it happen, but my husband heard her throw up. I initially figured it would be no big deal and was just spit up, but I was wrong. The whole cup of applesauce I had given her was all over her shirt. She was visibly upset.
We were pretty much in the middle of nowhere so my husband pulled over on a dirt road. He kept saying he didn't know what to do. He seemed to be the one having the panic attack, not me. My Emetophobia hadn't even kicked in, or if it had mom mode trumped it. I was not in a panic.
I got out of the passengers side, opened her car door, and cleaned her up with her pink stroller blanket. I had vomit on my hands and I still wasn't panicking. I stuffed the blanket in a plastic bag, tied it up and put it on the floor in the back seat.
I got back into the passengers seat and fantasized about some Purell and Clorox wipe ups. I told my husband to get on the freeway and drive to the next exit. I was still pretty calm, no fast heartbeats, no panic or crazy thoughts that I might get sick.
We got to the first rest stop about ten minutes later. I was originally going to take her in and clean her up, but she was sleeping, and I didn't want to disturb her. I simply went in, cleaned my hands with a lot of zest, got back into the car and we drove home.
I was pretty proud of myself. I was also lucky that she threw up that one time and never again.
I had always heard emetophobes can handle their own children being sick. I am just happy that when faced with an ill child myself I was able to handle it with ease and not fall into the traditional Emetophobia panic attack.
I am also happy to report that I did not have any fears of getting sick or whatever bug my daughter had after her vomiting incident. Another side effect of having Emet is the persistent fears that after you are around someone who was ill, you too will be ill. Those fears never once kicked in.
There are some things that motherhood can help you overcome, and apparently the fear of vomiting is one of them. I am not saying I am cured, just saying that if my daughter gets sick again, and she will, I am confident enough in myself that I can handle it.