If you’ve ever been pregnant while also holding down a job, there’s a good chance you may have barfed at work.
That relentless morning sickness (LOL “morning”) doesn’t care where you are or what you’re supposed to be doing — if the smell of your colleague’s coffee sets you off in the middle of that board meeting, you’re going to find yourself sprinting to the nearest bathroom/garbage can/purse.
Now, imagine your job is to report the news on live television, and behold this moment of ugh.
Julia Ainsley is an NBC News Correspondent who covers justice and homeland security. She’s also — as was accidentally revealed on live national TV a few months ago — pregnant.
“Here’s the time Baby Girl Ainsley made herself known to the world by causing a little morning sickness on national television. Coming January 2020!,” Ainsley tweeted Tuesday morning, along with a video of her taking deep breaths, gagging, and waving the camera away.
Oh, Julia. We’ve all been there. Just not so ... publicly.
“I ran down there, and in the middle of coverage I got pretty sick and had to run down the street and got sick in the bushes outside the justice department,” Ainsley recalled on the morning show.
Why the barfing, though?
Morning sickness is the term used to describe the nausea and vomiting some women experience during pregnancy. When it’s mild, it’s a normal part of pregnancy, according to the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC). The SOGC notes that it typically starts around week six and ends around week 12 (but for some women it can persist much longer, ugh).
It can affect as many as four out of five pregnant women, according to the New York Times, and strikes at any time of day.
WATCH: What to know about morning sickness. Story continues below.
While mild nausea and vomiting are normal, the SOGC cautions that when it’s so severe that you’re missing meals, losing weight, and unable to perform normal activities, you should see your health-care provider.
At its most severe, a form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum is marked by severe nausea, vomiting, weight loss and dehydration during pregnancy. You may recall that the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and actress Amy Schumer both suffered from this condition.
People were sympathetic to Ainsley’s public show of nausea, with many on Twitter pointing out how “badass” it is that women still go to work while feeling like hot garbage.
“Women are badasses! Go to work even tho they’re about to hurl any minute! Congratulations Julia, it’ll get easier!” one person tweeted.
“Congratulations. We women are made of strength and struggles, we make a way out of no way!! Blessings!” another person commented.
That said, we’re not sure we should be celebrating an obviously sick and miserable pregnant woman powering through to do her job, no matter how important her job is. The expectation that pregnant women should be “badass” or “rock stars” while reeling from physical symptoms isn’t exactly fair.
About 30 per cent of women in paid work need to take time off due to morning sickness, according to the U.K. website Pregnancy Sickness Support.
“It’s a really serious, debilitating condition – but many people don’t understand that. You even get employers who think women are exaggerating its severity so they can have time off work,” Dr. Brian Swallow previously told the Guardian.
To help manage morning sickness at work, Motherly recommends that women try to work flexibly whenever they can, take as many breaks as possible, save their sick days for the roughest days, and tell their managers what’s going on.
And don’t forget that pregnancy is protected under the Canadian Human Rights Act, and an employer can not fire you simply for being pregnant on the job.