Mums raise awareness about body-eating pregnancy illness
MAJENTA Hall was at the pinnacle of her health.
The professional trainer was a healthy size and extremely fit but during her pregnancy with daughter Willow Harris she lost a dangerous amount of weight.
At one stage, she weighed as little as 44kg while carrying her child.
Ms Hall said she had hyperemesis gravidarum, a condition she described as her body literally eating itself.
Hyperemesis gravidarum is a complication of pregnancy that is characterised by severe nausea and vomiting.
Thankfully, she had a support group of mothers who also experienced the condition during their pregnancies.
Now the women are banding together to create awareness of the complication but most importantly to encourage support from society and end the shame surrounding it.
Ms Hall said no nausea medication helped her.
"You can feel your body dying and eating itself," she said.
"I don't even know how to describe it."
Ms Hall said she was throwing up a minimum of 20 times a day.
"It's hard to be diagnosed for this; a lot of healthcare professionals don't recognise it and there's nothing they can do," she said.
"They basically pat you on the head and tell you it will stop at 12 weeks and then they pat you on the head and tell you it will stop at 14 weeks and it just keeps going."
Ms Hall has two older children she didn't experience the complication with. She would love to have another child but is now petrified.
Her partner Dan Harris was inspired by her strength to survive the pregnancy.
"Your determination and spirit pushed you from within, even throughout every single day of 140 days straight non-stop where you were literally bed-ridden at home 20 weeks or bit more," he said.
"You've endured all this and more to give our baby life, at whatever cost, even if it meant your own."
Mother-of-two Amy Toombs is experiencing the trauma all over again as she prepares for her third child later this year.
"My family and husband are worried about me but it will be worth it," she said.
"It does have an effect on your bonding with the baby because you love your baby, you want your baby but your baby is killing you."
She has thrown up from the day the baby was conceived and expects to be vomiting until it's born.
Susannah Birch has two daughters and experienced the complication during both pregnancies.
"Just imagine if you had gastro for months on end but the violent, gut-wrenching kind where absolutely nothing will stay down," she said.
"Then people are telling you to try eating toast and ginger."
Ms Hall said awareness of the complication was slowly growing since Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton revealed she experienced it during her second pregnancy with Princess Charlotte.