From a young teen age, I felt the pressures of society making a negative impact on how I viewed my body. I saw myself in a mirror and learned to hate it. I would grab the non-existent love handles and run my fingers along the outlines of my bones, and I hated every inch of it. I went to the gym and spent hours working until I puked and my vision went black. I went days without consuming a single calorie, living off of water and the energy I felt from being in control. And still, I hated what I saw in the mirror.
No matter how long I go between relapses, no matter how long I go without restricting myself or working too hard at the gym, those underlying feelings won’t go away. It doesn’t matter how fit, how healthy, or how attractive you may be, because it’s never quite enough, and you never feel entirely comfortable in your skin.
“It doesn’t matter how fit, how healthy, or how attractive you may be, because it’s never quite enough, and you never feel entirely comfortable in your skin.”
With these feelings of inadequacy about my body, how did I expect anything different when I became pregnant? How could I expect myself to look in the mirror at my constantly swelling belly, the stretch marks expanding on my thighs, and the inability to see over my toes, and feel good about what I saw?
There are a lot of things about pregnancy that no one talks about. You hear that pregnancy is beautiful, leaving you glowing and feeling maternal love towards the embryo growing inside of you. Every mommy blogger on Instagram will paint this beautiful picture of pregnancy, 40 weeks of bliss and connection with your perfect unborn child. No one talks about how you feel alienated from your body like it no longer belongs to you. No one talks about how you feel out of control. No one talks about how your emotions leave you drained.
Being a recovering anorexic means that these feelings are amplified. When you’re addicted to the control you gain from restricting and calorie counting, and you no longer are physically able to restrict yourself from eating, you feel the same way you did when your eating disorder began a dozen years ago. Pregnancy makes you incredibly sick, and skipping meals makes you even sicker. But whether it’s because of a love for your unborn baby, or amazing self-control, you keep on eating regularly and cry every time you step on the scale.
There are so many aspects aside from this that make pregnancy hard. There are a million reasons that make it difficult to climb out of bed every morning, make you cringe when you glance at your reflection as you leave the bathroom, and make you close yourself off from the people around you. I just wish there was a better representation in the media of how pregnancy is for some, so at least you can feel less blindsided when you realize pregnancy is not always glamorous and fun.
If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.