It is with much excitement that I write this post, the first blog post I’ve written in a long time.
I am currently 20 weeks pregnant and my husband and I couldn’t be happier.
We are extremely fortunate as I fell pregnant with much ease, and for that I am eternally grateful.
For the past few years I have openly and honestly shared my journey and experience of living with bulimia, anorexia and depression.
I have always wanted children, but even after years of recovery there was always a sense of fear that would wash over me at the thought that perhaps I had done too much damage to my body and therefore unable to fall pregnant.
I have been in recovery for many years now, but the guilt I feel of having lived with an Eating Disorder is something that I have had to fight with until fairly recently.
Although the restricting, and binging and purging stopped years ago, the voices often wonder back from time to time, usually when I am stressed or upset – reminding me that the repercussions of my actions and behaviours could come back to haunt me at any time. Especially when trying to fall pregnant.
At the age of 22 doctors told me that there was a chance I had gone through early menopause. At the time it was the most confusing and devastating news, I just felt so numb. Thankfully after extensive tests it was confirmed that I hadn’t gone through menopause. But ever since that time I often wondered whether I had done catastrophic internal damage to my body that the tests weren’t able to detect. But I was always too terrified to find out. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to handle the doctor saying I couldn’t have children knowing it would have been due to the years of torture and abuse I put my body through.
So to be 20 weeks pregnant is the most exhilarating feeling I have ever had.
I fell pregnant basically straight away, and believe me I know how rare that actually is. I remind myself every day how blessed I am to be in such a fortunate position, when so many other woman are struggling to conceive.
I did wonder initially if the ‘voices’ of my eating disorders would emerge as my body started to change, and certainly the first 16 weeks were physically and emotionally draining. I was very sick, extreme nausea and bouts of vomiting. It scared me at first, because that particular action was very familiar but for all the wrong reasons. I worried that if I was physically sick I would somehow be harming the baby. But I have realised that during pregnancy I just need to surrender my body. My baby is very healthy and I am doing everything I can to ensure that I remain as healthy as possible too.
Before falling pregnant I was still very active, exercising about 5 times a week. I loved yoga, running and walking. I was also eating a very balanced diet (if you read any of my other posts you will know that I do not follow any trends or ‘diets’ I eat as clean as I can but I never ever deny myself anything!)
From about 4 weeks to 16 weeks all of that drastically changed. I had no energy whatsoever. None. I would attempt to do yoga in the mornings and after about 10 minutes I’d had enough. After work I would literally fall onto the couch and not get up until it was time for bed. I couldn’t prepare any meals (my poor husband!) the various smells from the kitchen and fridge would leave me dry-reaching. Anything with too much flavour or too many spices was just a no-go.
All I felt like eating was plain bland food such as toast, dry biscuits and pasta! And so that is exactly what I ate.
As a first time mum-to-be I have done a lot of ‘research’ online … and I’m amazed at all the conflicting suggestions on what you should and shouldn’t do while pregnant; what to eat, what not to eat, when to exercise and for how long, what cosmetics products to use, what bras to buy, what shampoo to use, what hospital to go to and the public vs private debate, far out!
I believe that I have been successful in my recovery journey because I simply started to listen to my body. Our bodies are the most remarkable machines and if we all just took more time to relax and listen to the signs our bodies give us, we would innately know how to respond.
And so that is exactly what I plan to do for the remainder of this pregnancy. By listening to my body and treating it with respect I am also treating myself and this baby with the respect we both need & deserve.
If anyone reading this has ever struggled with an eating disorder please know that there is hope, and if you start to treat your body kindly it will respond accordingly.
Now it’s off to research prams!