Eating Disorders and Pregnancy

I don't even know why I'm writing this. Maybe documentation for future reference for myself... maybe for other people out there, maybe it's to organize my thoughts and be therapeutic. It's definitely not light blogging material though. I used to write in a journal a lot, but haven't been doing a ton of the day-to-day stuff, just recording memories and the like from high school that I would tell you if you asked me in person but may get me in trouble to put it on my blog. That's high school. But because I don't journal thoughts too much, this place kind of gets the brunt of it all.

I mentioned in a past post that I was gonna talk about eating disorders and pregnancy and so here goes.

Again, not for the light of heart. And I don't want this post to make it seem like I'm an unhappy person or that I'm ungrateful... because (spoilers) I'm back to being in a good place. But this was a hard time in my life that I'd like to document for whatever reason, and I ask your respect as I do so.

If you've read my blog you know what I've been through. I wish I could remember the names of the posts I've done but I don't, maybe I will soon and will link them for new readers. But reader's digest version, I fought (and I'd like to say I won) the battle with anorexia nervosa and bulemia for the better part of high school and a fair portion of college.

And while I say I won the battle, that means that I don't give into impulse and urges any more. But I've accepted the fact that most days I will look in the mirror and see something different than what others see, and that's ok with me. It's something I've come to live with. It doesn't mean I don't value myself, or that I hate myself, it's just a part of me that I live with and that's fine. I'm fine with being fine.

So some more information that maybe you don't have. Well, if you've been reading my blog at ALL lately, you know I'm pregnant, 29 weeks, and if you do the math, this baby was conceived in April 2015. But what many of you don't know is that I was pregnant February of 2015 as well. Call it what you will, chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, I felt as if I had lost a real part of me. I was crushed and devastated, it was a very dark part of my life. I'm so glad that we're living in a world where people can talk about this more freely and where they aren't judged for doing so, and people don't shun those who talk about it. But me, it's still not something I'm ready to talk about openly a whole ton and maybe I never will, that's just my personality. Anyways. I lost the baby in February and there was a lot of negative that came from it.

There was positive too, though, I won't lie. I learned a lot. I grew a lot. And something that really hit me was how much I wanted to be a mom. That devastation was so powerful to me that I would have willingly given any part of me to be pregnant again. I would sacrifice my body and any physical/mental/emotional comfort to be a mom again, as I was in those few moments.

Prior to that point, I had experienced a lot of stress in school and while the tendencies from my prior eating disorders weren't ones I gave into willingly and intentionally, when stress built up it was default for me to sacrifice my own health and nutrition just for the sake of time. But after the loss of that pregnancy, even though the loss could not have been attributed to my poor health habits, I realized I needed to make an effort to become more healthy, and so I did. And in April we were blessed again with two pink lines on a test.

And at first it was so easy, it really was. Babies start out very small, you know, and by the time 15 weeks rolled around and I still hadn't gained any weight (because again, the baby is very tiny...) I was excited to finally have that "bump". Then the pregnancy would REALLY feel real to me! And it did, 18 weeks, a tiny little bump, and things did feel real.

But I didn't realize the panic that would come from that, either. It really didn't start out that bad. It was a little scary at times to see how my body was changing but I remembered how grateful I was for it, the wonder that my body was that it was able to grow a life.

And it all changed, I could look up the exact day for you, in August, with a doctor's appointment. Doctor said that it was the time I'd start gaining weight, and gaining a lot if I wasn't careful. That was enough to put that fear in me. But then he put parameters on what he'd call "good" gain and "bad" gain". I am so certain he says this to everyone, with no ill effects, but it took me over completely. Thankfully our scale at home is so cheap, you can never tell how much you really weigh. It's accurate within 10 lbs which isn't very helpful. But nevertheless. I felt resentment. I resented the doctor for telling me that. I resented that my body was going to start holding onto weight more than it ever had before.

But the worst of it was that I resented myself. I resented that this became such a focus to me, my weight, and not my health, and not the health of my baby. I resented that I wasn't just giddy to watch my bump grow bigger. I resented each time I stepped on a functioning scale and those numbers stuck in my mind for the rest of the day, and the rest of the day all I could think about was how to keep the numbers what they were or make them smaller. I resented that this was something I had to deal with, that this was going to be a struggle for me, and I resented that I even considered it a struggle in comparison to the trials others were going through.

It was a lot of feelings. It lead to a lot of anxiety and fear over following doctor's appointments, whether he'd say I was "good" or "bad". It lead to a lot of quiet crying when Joe was at work, trying to figure out how I was going to be ok with this all.

It also brought a lot of support from the few people I told. I didn't want to talk about it a lot because it was really, really embarrassing to me, but the support that came was overwhelming and wonderful and encouraging.

I don't know exactly where it changed, but at some point I again was able to shift the focus back to health and not weight. I'm so glad to say that through the fears and anxieties of it all, I never did let it lead me to starving myself or making myself sick or exercising to the point of concern. Sometimes I would wish that I could, a part of my mind said it would be so easy to do that, but I didn't let myself do that ever, at any point. Something inside me or someone on the outside was strong enough to hold me back from that. That is a great blessing. But I've been able to shift the focus back to health. To eating things so I can be healthy, and not so I can be thin. And I'm making a focus to enjoy this time of life, feeling my baby move inside me (however bizarre it may be at times, because trust me, sometimes it's pretty weird).

And so I think I'll be ok. Well, let me edit that. I know I'll be ok. As hard as this is, and as much as I wish this wasn't something I had to deal with, I know it's something that will teach me something in the long run. Don't know what that is yet, I'm still in the long run.

But it'll be ok. That's my mantra. It'll be ok.

1 comment:

Laurel said...

You are a very brave woman and I am proud of you, my dear. I also suffer from an eating disorder (BED) I know how difficult it is. Keep up the good work!