I am 22 weeks pregnant.
Unlike my other mommy-to-be friends I have this little thing called an Eating Disorder to contend with, but I have been strong in recovery for almost a year and symptom free for over eight months. My husband and I planned on waiting a few more months before trying for a baby, but I guess God had other plans. And we certainly welcomed this joyous news.
Having a child is something that I have wanted for years, long before I even met my husband. But bringing a baby into the world is also something I’ve always held very sacred. Even when I was deep in my disorder, I knew I had to get better before even considering the notion. I refused to bring a baby into the world until I was steady in recovery. How could I take care of a beautiful, innocent child when I could hardly take care of myself? Nonetheless, I longed for a baby. I dreamed of the day my bloated belly would be a baby bump and not some weird edema after effect of symptom use. I will never forget standing naked in front of the full length mirror in my bathroom. It had been a bad day…filled with sadness and symptoms. I stared at my reflection, touching my bloated belly. I promised myself that one day I would look in the mirror and see a healthy mom-to-be staring back. And that day has finally arrived.
Much of my first trimester was spent in baby bliss and avoidance of the fact that ED was and will always be a part of my life, including my pregnancy. This thought just infuriated me…it is not fair that everyone else gets to be ‘normal’ and I have to once again have this added component. It still makes me mad, but I’m learning to accept it…and I think putting it out there helps. Overall, though, pregnancy has been wonderful. Surprisingly, I have never felt more comfortable in my skin and I can’t rub my beautiful belly enough. Of course, there are trying days. But I’ve had to distinguish what thoughts are that of my ED creeping back in versus the thoughts and feelings which are simply that of a nervous mom-to-be not sure what to make of her ever changing body. I am extremely cognizant about my nutrition and have done so well with it. I have given in to cravings and enjoyed every bite of them. For years, my eating disorder stole my ability to know what I wanted to eat, to know what it was like to crave something and think, “Hm, that’s what I want for dinner.” Well, thanks to my growing belly (and recovery), I am well aware as to what my body is needing. Some days it is french fries and ice cream and some days it is fresh veggies and salad…and I am finally enjoying it all.
As I sit here and write this, I can feel my little boy kicking inside me. It is simply magical. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. The road to recovery has been long and hard, but the rewards along the way make up for my scars and every tear I’ve cried. I have worked so hard to get to where I am today and I do not take a second for granted. I have accepted ED will always be a part of my life, but writing about my trials and tribulations helps to heal old wounds. My wish is for my baby boy to grow up healthy, strong and proud of who he is – no matter who that person may be. I hope he knows how much he is loved at this very moment and for every moment the rest of his life. I hope he chases his dreams, learns to love and learns how to be loved…and most of all I hope he loves himself, for that is the greatest love of all.