As some one who is slowly recovering from an ED and wants a family in the future, how did you deal with body image and pregnancy? This is something my boyfriend and I talk about a lot. I'm so afraid of setting off a huge trigger and hurting myself or even worse any future babies. Thank you :))
I’m going to answer this publically, as I think it’s important advice and EDs within pregnancy are such a taboo subject that people rarely speak about it. I hope you’re ok with that, I assume you are as you sent an ask rather than a message, if you aren’t, just pop me another message and I’ll remove it. :)
I hadn’t fully recovered when I became pregnant, but pregnancy helped in the sense that I could tell myself “this won’t make you fat, it goes into your baby” whenever I ate. My strategy which worked for me was that I ate ‘cleanly’ so to speak, not much greasy stuff, so I felt comfortable stuffing myself on those times when I just wanted to binge. I’d either eat lots of something like yellow pepper or melon (not citrus-y stuff as it’ll make pregnancy acid reflux horrifically painful) or each a medium sied portion of something filling like pitta bread and houmous and then go back if I wanted more. I was then reassured that I’d taken in not many calories at all later and didn’t feel such a need to purge. I tackled purging first as it was in my eyes the most damaging behaviour of the two whilst pregnant. I wasn’t likely to hurt myself eating half a melon, but I didn’t want to end up with infected throat tears or stomach tears. But you know what? Sometimes wobbles happen. People make mistakes, they purge or fast because it’s ingrained in themselves to do so. That is ok. It does not make you a bad mother.
I have had such wobbles. At the time, yes, I felt like crap. But what matters is how you respond to it. You don’t think “oh fuck it, it’s worthless, might as well go stuff my face and start the cycle again”, you think “Ok, that sucked. But I managed [insert space of time] without purging. That’s great, let’s see if I can do that again, or maybe even longer”.
My actual body image issues have been a lot harder. I stocked up on stretch mark cream (I used Sanctuary’s mum to be butter, it was awesome) and used that twice a day. I had my GP, boyfriend and family watch me carefully after birth in case I started displaying any signs that I was feeling low about my body, and had my GP send a letter to our local hospital’s ED clinic to let them know that I may struggle a little and need to come in sometime to chat. I’ve found breastfeeding hard as it has changed my boobs, but I’ve been reassured that they will get a better and more ‘full’ a while after I choose to stop.
Just don’t push yourself into exercise. I couldn’t do much due to postbirth complications and I panicked, but a lot of it went back by itsself. Throw yourself into your baby, toning and sculpting that probably already gorgeous body of yours can wait. And as I said, don’t worry about any wobbles.