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How can you eat for two, when you can't even eat for one?

WARNING THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE CONTAINS GRAPHIC CONTENT:

By NICKY CHAMP

“I know I have to eat for the baby, but it’s hard to push the voices away that are telling me I’m fat.”

One British mother who is 35 weeks pregnant with her second child has spoken out about her struggle with anorexia and the daily battle she faces to keep her growing baby – a girl Isla – healthy.

Holly Griffith, 21, has been anorexic for 13 years and has already given birth to a healthy son named Dylan, now two. 

pregnant-anorexicDylan weighed 5lb 10oz (roughly 2.3 kilos) at birth and during the pregnancy Griffith’s 170cm frame was so tiny that baby Dylan cracked one of her ribs and began to crush her lungs he struggled to grow inside her.

Griffith was induced at 37 weeks and gave birth after a labour of only 10 minutes. “I was so lucky he was OK,” Griffith revealed to Mail Online. “I felt so guilty I had put his life at risk.”

It was at the age of eight that Griffith first struggled with her body when she became hyper-aware of how she looked in her leotard at ballet class and subsequently put pressure on herself to lose weight. Four years later she was admitted to a children’s psychiatric clinic when she was roughly 19 kilos underweight.

Her life-long battle with the disease means she is physically unable to carry a baby to full-term and suffers from a heart condition, osteoporosis and arthritis.
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Now at 34 weeks, Griffith reveals in her latest YouTube video that she is back to her pre-pregnancy weight after battling to put back on the weight she lost in the first trimester.

“When I first discovered I was pregnant I was terrified of having to gain weight again,” Griffith said.

“I suffered terrible morning sickness which caused my weight to drop, triggering my anorexia.

“I had thoughts of purging but didn’t need to, my body was reacting in its own way. This made eating a lot easier, because I would just vomit it up anyway.”

Despite her low weight, doctors have told Griffith that baby Isla is healthy and growing at a normal rate. She is due to be induced again at 37 weeks and is determined to put more weight on before giving birth.

“Eating disorders in their own are a constant and daily struggle, but pair them with pregnancy and trying to maintain a healthy diet and carry a healthy baby and it feels like you’re walking through a field of mines,” Griffith said.

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An image Holly Griffith pinned in her Pinterest folder titled, Mummy madness.
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After sharing her struggle on her YouTube channel and blog, her story was picked up by numerous media outlets worldwide, the first being Closer magazine, in which she says her quotes were taken out of context to fit a story of, “I’m pregnant but I’m still starving myself.. Anorexia is about vanity.. I don’t care enough to stop”.

Cue outrage and criticism. In a blog post titled, “Speaking out,” she addresses the backlash and negative commentary after her story went viral.

“Anorexia ravaged my life. It ravaged my mind, body and soul. Destroyed relationships and opportunities and put my family through hell. No matter the progress I’ve made I’m still struggling and still fighting,” Griffith writes.  

If she had access to more stories like her own when she first relapsed at age 14, Griffith thinks her life could have been different, “If I hadn’t been so torn between the stick thin glamour of the media and the stark horror stories relayed to me in treatment I might have understood what my life would become”.

“And then I think about mothers or mums to be in this situation. The judgement and stigma I’ve faced and I fear for them. I was so lucky to have such amazing support from my family while I was pregnant with Dylan and access to intensive treatment for my anorexia.”

“That support and treatment helped me see that mental illness does not make you a bad parent and gave me the resources to stand up to anyone who told me otherwise.”

A recent British study revealed that one in 14 women suffer from an eating disorder – or ‘Pregorexia’ – in the first trimester of pregnancy.  

A group of 700 women answered an anonymous questionnaire at their first routine antenatal examination,  and two per cent of those women admitted to using measures such as fasting, exercise excessively, vomiting, and misuse laxatives or diuretics to avoid gaining weight.

If you need help or support you can call the Butterfly Foundation support line on 1800 334 673 or the Eating Disorders Helpline number on 1300 550 236.

Have you ever struggled with your body image? 

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