You can't really imagine much worse than constantly throwing up, retching, unable to keep anything down. For most of us, such symptoms pass in a couple of days as whatever pathogen responsible passes out of our system. Imagine that it doesn't stop - it carries on for weeks and months. Can you imagine the pain you'd be in, how knackered you'd feel? And then there's the additional worry that if you get any relief from the distressing symptoms, you start to worry that something has gone wrong with the pregnancy that's causing it.
It annoys me when I see Hyperemesis Gravidarium described as acute morning sickness. It's got nothing to do with mornings, for a start, and it's a hurricane where your average morning sickness (which is not pleasant at all) is a light Spring breeze.
So, poor Kate has to go through all of this with an army of photographers outside the hospital in London where she's been admitted for hydration and vitamins. The last thing they would ever have wanted to do is to have told the world about the pregnancy before 12 weeks and in such circumstances. Everything will most likely be fine, but it's an anxious time even when you're not suffering from a horrible condition like this.
It's quite likely that this will go on for weeks, if not months and further stays in hospital will be necessary. I don't want to see photos of worried looking relatives popping in to see Kate, nor do I want to see her having to face a barrage of cameras when she leaves. Because when she does step over the door to go home, she's unlikely to be feeling well and she'll probably look pretty pale and tired.
It would be nice if tabloid editors and broadcast companies could let these people go through this anxious time in peace and privacy. It's fantastic news that there's a new baby on the way. It is, I suppose, progress that whatever gender it is, it'll be eligible to succeed to the throne. The whole principle of hereditary head-of-stateness is not one that sits very comfortable with me. I'll have to accept that I'm in a minority on that.
There's a long way to go until this baby is born. Poor Kate is, sadly, likely to discover that if she thought she was public property before, it's about to get a whole lot worse. Zoe Williams has a super article in the Guardian today outlining the ten stories she doesn't want to read about the pregnancy, from the icky to the judgemental. I could add that I really don't want to see the phrase "showing of her bump" anywhere either. It's a particular pet hate of mine. But Zoe would be well advised not to hold her breath waiting for the press to do what she says.
This would be a good opportunity for the press, in the post-Leveson environment, to show that it can behave itself. Tabloid editors will no doubt argue that if they all disappeared from the hospital, international journalists would scoop them. Well, let them. Do the decent thing for once, for goodness' sake.
I wonder how many journalists would like their own partner or sister to be put through the media scrum that Kate's going to have to go through. And do we punters really need entire papers given over to discussion of a pregnancy? The process of human reproduction is admittedly remarkable, but we've all been doing it for a long time now.
Oh, and please don't buy any of the papers that carry oodles of this dross. Wish William and Kate well, but accept that this really is none of our business. If we really mean our congratulations, the best present we could give them would be simply to leave them alone.