Pregnancy with an Eating Disorder

On finding strength, acceptance and perseverance in pregnancy and motherhood.

Pregnancy with an Eating Disorder

Hi. My name is Jaime. I am a grateful compulsive overeater, anorexic and bulimic.

An identifier I have found comfort and pride in, it would be these words and their subsequent actions that made me fear ever becoming pregnant. These words and their subsequent actions made me feel I would never place the needs of my unborn child before my own sickness.

But I did.

My road to recovery has been a long one, living in disease for nearly my entire lifetime, it wouldn’t be until I found acceptance that the fear would subside in order for a beautifully abstinent pregnancy to emerge.

And it did.

With recovery came the sincerest of honesty, becoming painstakingly open with my eating disorder, and myself. This body was no longer mine and it was in that message where I would find acceptance. I knew the moment I learned that I was going to become a mother that I would have to forsake the body I had finally learned to love and what it eats, looks like and how it operates. I was doing it all for my son. The work that lead to this moment would offer the greatest reward, a present mother who was able to be in love with her child.

For the first time in my life I found beauty in my body. The ever-evolving shape of my belly granted me freedom. Scared, fearful, brave and courageous, turning my body over to the care of my unborn son was my first step into motherhood. It was no longer about me. This body was no longer mine. It was his.

I listened to my body. I paid attention to the cravings. Being a vegan, I knew the minute I craved a food that it would be a food I would need to consume. Within 5 weeks I was craving dairy. Rightly so, I would later find out I was severely calcium deficient. With a little help from the universe, I would take my first bite of cheese. It was no longer about me. This body was no longer mine. It was his.

I watched the pounds increase month-to-month, week-to-week. I worked at letting go of the numbers that swirled in my head; having found peace and serenity in the fact that gaining weight was healthy. It was beautiful. For the first time since the age of 7 I had found comfort in having a big belly, a perfectly round badge of honor I proudly wore. For the first time I allowed it. I found happiness in it. Beauty. But most importantly, I found love. It was no longer about me. This body was no longer mine. It was his.

Knowing that whenever a behavior would flair it’s ugly head just meant there was something in my life that needed to be addressed; I had a visible reminder as to why I was fighting the battle of my life. It was no longer so easy to simply give in. I couldn’t just start anew come Monday morning. I couldn’t just for old times sake, just one last time. It was no longer about me. This body was no longer mine. It was his.

And here I am.

I am the mother of a healthy, beautiful, thriving, striving little boy. I would be lying if I didn’t say there are days that I struggle. I would be lying if I didn’t say there are days I want to give up. And then I look at that face and I know there’s no other way for me to live. I have to continue to accept the fact that there is a piece of me; beaten, battered and bruised, that needs me to continue to place myself before him. It was no longer about me. This life was no longer just mine. It was his.

As a mother, it is quite hard to be able to say I come before my child. The looks received when that statement is made are often full of judgment. But I know all too well that without placing myself first, I cannot and will not be here for him. And that to me is non-negotiable. It was no longer about me. This life was no longer just mine. It was his.

Throughout my time as a mother I have dipped my toe into the possibility of falling back into disordered living. I look at my child in those moments, and I feel nothing, a vast emptiness, knowing all too well that disease is just waiting to gain control. It’s that moment; a moment filled with terror and gratitude that brings me right back where I need to be.

Here. With him.

Hi. My name is Jaime. I am a grateful compulsive overeater, anorexic, bulimic.

And mother.

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