Pregnancy and Eating Disorders

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

If you have read my blog you probably know that I have a long struggle with an eating disorder. It has been my (almost)lifelong companion. It is not a good companion, it one I have tried to shake many times but have come to realize that some parts and patterns in my thinking will just always be there, I have to learn how to deal with them.

Anyway- pregnancy creates a huge challenge. It is a time during which a person is expected to gain weight. A mother's body is supposed to change to accommodate another person. This can be overwhelming for a person with a more normal relationship with food and weight. For me, and many people with eating disorders, this can be crippling.

First, I never expected to be able to get pregnant. I was usually thin enough that I did not menstruate as a teenager- and fertility is often impacted by a long term eating disorder (it is part of the aftermath- that never goes away).

Clearly, my ability to become pregnant was not impacted.

The first trimester is hard especially because I have a history of purging to lose weight, morning sickness threw me for a loop. It was almost an excuse to purge. It took a lot of work to learn to modify my thinking and behavior.

I do not know my weight. I go to the doctor every week but stand backward on the scale and have asked that no one tell me my weight, because I am afraid that knowing the number will upset the delicate balance I have forged in my head. Realistically, I know that weight gain is necessary to support a pregnancy. But I cannot help but start panicking about being fat. I can't change my reaction, but I can change how I deal with my reaction.

Pregnancy is probably the hardest time for me to maintain stability. Hormones are crazy add to my predisposition to anxiety, if I am not watchful it can be a recipe for disaster. Nightly, I stand in front of the mirror looking for stretch marks, for cellulite, for fat that was not there yesterday, despite my conscious efforts to accept the physical changes as a necessary part of making a person.


Trip Snyder said...

I, as always, am proud of the strength you show. I hope that as a result of your blogging, other women will have the courage to face pregnancy as you do. Keep up the great writing.

Leanne said...

Great post. I love the line, 'I can't change my reaction but I can change how I deal with my reaction.' That's a VERY powerful mind set. Your baby is lucky to have a Mom who can share this with her/him. Good luck with the rest of the pregnancy!

Holly Alastra said...

This is great! I just stumbled across your blog, and I have a website on eating disorders I hope you don't mind me sharing (there's a p. on pregnancy):

and a blog on loving life:

Keep up the good work and wishing you a great pregnancy!

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