Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Bulimia and Baby Part 2

Early this year, as G and I wandered through Barnes and Noble I went to the eating disorder section. I picked up a book and it talked about how many women with eating disorders are hesitant, to put it mildly, about the idea of carrying a child. And while many people continue to confuse eating disorders as a weight disorder, they're about control. Being pregnant means you're not in control. Not in control of your body, your life, your emotions, the list goes on and on. And I could relate.

All the times we tried for a child and it didn't work out a part of me was relieved. Relieved that it wasn't going to happen then, worried that things would change too much. And yes, part of it does have to do with the body, since it is usually the one thing you do have the most control over. And my body changing drastically where I might not recognize it scared the living shit out of me. But then I would feel guilty, realizing that if something was wrong I may never be able to give G the one thing he desperately wanted, and me too for that matter. I may have been unsure about the whole pregnancy thing, but I wanted to be a mother at some point.

When I first found out that I was pregnant, even before I had told G, I remember driving home from Target after getting folic acid pills and saying to this child that I was going to do everything in my power to keep them safe. And I meant it. Not just about the world at large, but also safe from myself and my own demons.

Little did I know that I would get the lovely thing in the first trimester where food simply didn't interest me, sound good, or appeal in any way. I had such a little appetite I was horrified. I mean, I'm bulimic, not anorexic for a reason... I love food. And suddenly the only thing that I actually wanted to eat or could keep down was fruit and salsa. It's not a surprise that I didn't really gain anything the whole trimester. But my doctor assured me my appetite would return in the 2nd.

While it's gotten better, I still can skip meals without thinking. So I am definitely not eating real meals very often. Instead, I graze. I fill up on fruit and nuts and cheese. I gulp down large glasses of whole fat milk with large slices of banana bread. I eat Indian and salsa like it's nobody's business. And I can drink a whole bottle of pineapple juice (4 8oz servings) in a day if I don't watch myself. And when I have a baguette on hand I can kill a whole baguette in a couple days, slathering on butter and sprinkling fleur de sel.

I've put on 7 lbs. of baby weight... but it's all baby! I'm about halfway through this pregnancy and I can easily pass for a person who is not pregnant at all. It bothers me at times, because I worry that those who know my history will worry. But my body is changing, clearly. When I lie down, no longer does my stomach go flat, instead there is a round mound. It's just that with the loss of appetite came me losing my weight as the baby put theirs on. My child weighs approx. 11 oz. That's about ¾ of a lb. not including all the fluids and sac.

I don't mind it too much. It means that if this continues I'll probably be like my mother and smaller after I give birth than I was going into it. But it's not something I'm attempting in the least.

In fact, this is the healthiest I've been in about 14 years. I enjoy food, but I don't eat too much at meals. I gorge myself on fruit as a way to keep something down frequently, but avoid getting to the point I feel ill. Sure, I've misjudged that with the salsa a couple times (note: salsa and milk do not mix... you will spend some time with your head in the toilet praying.), but I don't feel the need to throw up as a way to feel any control. In fact, even with all the uncertainties of G's deployment and this baby I feel a complete lack of desire to control everything.

I'm only about halfway there. But I find it interesting that in a way, the thing I worried would set me off the edge has saved me from myself. I don't abuse food. I don't abuse my body (unless a friend is right and perhaps I should not be doing flips into the water at the pool). If anything, I'm taking better care of myself than I ever have. I go up and down the stairs in my home all day, so my legs are strong, and the muscles are tight. I drink plenty of water. I rest more when I need it.

Maybe I should write a book to put on that shelf at Barnes and Noble. It would be titled, “You Can Do This: How Pregnancy Saved Me From Myself.” I think women need to know that there are some of us who find pregnancy to be the thing we needed to love ourselves a bit more, even enough to say no to our natural inclinations.

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