Eating Disorders During Pregnancy
Real life stories about dealing with food issues.
“I never want my daughter, Maya, to see me stepping on the scale and bemoaning my appearance or telling my husband, ‘I look fat today.’ ”-Melissa Henriquez, Portage, Mich.
After losing 35 pounds, I was elated with my new thin body. But the happiness soon devolved into an obsession with my weight. In June 2008, I wrote in my blog, “Let There Be Light” (formerly titled “Tales of a [Recovering] Disordered Eater”): “I was ravaged by feelings of guilt, like this body was on loan and if I didn’t exercise one day or didn’t eat well, I’d get fat overnight.”
One of my first blog posts was about fear- ing pregnancy; I feared giving birth, sure, but even more than that I feared getting fat after working so hard to get thin. But by the time I found out I was pregnant in May 2010, I had been recovered from disordered eating well over a year and had a healthy relationship with my body. It was my dream to be a mom and to start a family with my husband.
Even though I had overcome my unhealthy relationship with food, I felt it was important to blog about being pregnant with a history of disordered eating, which so many women struggle with. One entry detailed how I felt surprisingly OK the first time my jeans were too tight to button. It was freeing, in a way, to know that my jeans weren’t fitting for the best reason: A life was growing inside of me.
I told my OB-GYN that I had a history of disordered eating and he thought journaling—a habit of mine since I began Weight Watchers in 2004—was an excellent idea, not for the calorie-counting aspect but to keep track of nutrients. This helped me gain exactly the weight he recommended.
I loved watching my belly grow. In spite of all my body image issues, I loved the physical changes—I had never felt so womanly. To be honest, it was important to me to keep my weight in check when I was pregnant, but I refused to obsess over it.
Now that I’m a mom, I want to set a positive example for my daughter, Maya, and that means being the healthiest I can be.