This post deals with eating disorders and might be triggering for some readers.
Your physical appearance changes dramatically in terms of your body shape, and for some reason, although at no other point in time is it acceptable, people feel they have the right to comment on all these changes when you are pregnant. These comments are not always easy to hear when your hormone levels are going crazy and even more difficult when you are experiencing an eating disorder and are already living inside the prison of your own mind, scrutinising every single change in your appearance.
Things pregnant people NEVER say. Post continues below.
I was first diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa at 12 years of age after the diet I was on became an obsession and eventually got out of control. After years of seeing different doctors and psychologists, at the age of 24 when I fell pregnant with my first child, I was finally managing my eating disorder and was maintaining a healthy weight.
I remember my doctor asking how I would feel when I started putting on weight and I assured him I would be fine. I truly believed this because I had always wanted to be a mother and I would be getting bigger and heavier due only to my growing baby. Unfortunately, I had an extremely difficult pregnancy as I suffered with hyperemesis gravidarum (severe morning sickness that lasts all day, everyday with no respite) and did not start putting on any weight until about 20 weeks.
As the scales started going up the eating disorder came storming back quickly and intensely. Throughout the remainder of my pregnancy, I was able to maintain a healthy weight because my baby’s health was my absolute priority. The thoughts, however, I couldn’t stop them rolling in.
Waiting for the arrival of my firstborn child should have been one of the most exciting times of my life but instead, it was filled with consuming and irrational thoughts. I hated my body and compared myself to every single pregnant woman around me.
The eating disorder, of course, made me think that I was always bigger than them. My stomach was bigger, my arms were bigger, my legs were bigger, and my face was puffier. I scrutinised and hated every single part of my body.
It was a living nightmare that I didn’t share with anyone. I was anxious all the time and consumed with thoughts and fears about what I would look like after I gave birth. I was hopeful that my stomach would magically go back to its pre-baby weight immediately and when this didn’t happen it pushed me further into the clutches of my eating disorder. I began eating disorder behaviour right after giving birth.