Pregnancy is a beautiful thing; however, if you struggle(d) with an eating disorder it can be a very trying time. Thankfully I was already three years recovered from my eating disorder when I found out that I was pregnant.
I was very nauseous, but I assumed it was from my gastritis. I was also on an antibiotic from a dog bite, so I figured that was a contributing factor to my nausea as well. I missed my menstrual cycle, but I assumed it was because I was overly stressed at work.
To humor myself and my friends, two days before my birthday, I bought three pregnancy tests. They all confirmed that I was pregnant.
I still was not convinced as they are not always accurate, so I drove myself over to Planned Parenthood the day before my birthday.
“Congrats kiddo,” were the exact words the doctor said to me. “You are six weeks pregnant.” I couldn’t believe it.
I nervously laughed as I called my husband. Me, pregnant? With an i.u.d.? How is that even possible?
There was never a thought in our mind that we would not keep the baby. He was our miracle from God.
We were extremely excited and very nervous. I guess God felt I was ready to be a mama regardless of the fact that I had zero baby experience. LOL.
Pregnancy definitely presented its challenges. I was nervous I would gain too much weight. I was nervous I would never be able to lose the weight.
Would that trigger me into wanting to return to eating disorder behaviors? I had to stop many times and bring myself back to the present moment.
I prayed often. Most mornings I started by reading my Bible.
I reminded myself that the most important thing was carrying a healthy baby.
How I Handled Weight Gain During Pregnancy
I do not own a scale, so the only times I was weighed was at my gynecologist appointments. I frequently had high anxiety before my appointments, wondering how much weight I would have gained.
I did not want to know my weight, but I wanted to know my weight. It was a tough predicament.
I decided that I would let the nurse tell me my weights because I was in a healthy mindset and it would be a good experience for me. It would test me post recovery.
Overall, I handled the weight gain pretty well. I do have to say that having a good nurse can make all the difference.
At one appointment, I was feeling defeated with my weight gain. I started to cry and I asked the nurse for reassurance if my weight gain was okay.
The nurse knew that I previously struggled with an eating disorder. She looked at my weight and then responded, “Well, what are you eating?” I instantly panicked.
Tears flowed down my face. I could not stop crying. I felt ashamed of myself. Was I gaining too much weight?
I shared this experience with my doctor. He reassured me that I was doing absolutely fantastic and there was nothing to worry about. He is beyond amazing.
At my next appointment, I had a different nurse. She was a godsend. She told me that I was doing awesome and that my weight gain was nothing to worry about. She shared her pregnancy experience with me. I felt so much better. From that point forward I requested that she be the only nurse that I see.
It made all the difference at my appointments. Instead of leaving my appointments feeling overwhelmed, guilty, and defeated, she made me feel empowered and confident.
I ended up gaining near fifty pounds during my pregnancy.
If someone were to have told me prior to becoming pregnant that I was going to gain fifty pounds, I would have lost my mind. A woman that is normal weight is expected to gain between 25-35 pounds, so I held onto those numbers with all of my might.
When I reached the latter end of the range, I mentally struggled with what that meant:
- Did that make me a failure?
- Did I eat too much?
- Was I disgusting?
I started seeing my old dietician for support. She helped talk me through my fears and encouraged me that I was doing a great job. I know that I did what was right for my body and the weight I gained was healthy for ME.
I did not binge. I did not purge. I did not restrict. I did not over exercise.
I enjoyed my food. I didn’t have any weird food cravings. I did go through a phase where all I wanted was soft serve vanilla ice cream though. Store ice cream would not suffice – God bless my husband.
I lifted weights a little more than halfway through my pregnancy. I started getting severe cramping after lifting, so my doctor told me to stop lifting weights.
I love lifting and I wish I could have continued with it throughout my pregnancy, but I wanted to do what was best for my body and baby. I walked throughout my entire pregnancy.
I even walked to the hospital when I was in labor. Conveniently, I live right behind a hospital.
Some women love being pregnant. Some women hate it. I didn’t love it, but I also did not hate it. It was a special time that I embraced, but I like my life afterwards so much more – definitely doesn’t have anything to do with my cute little munchkin!
I plan on blogging more about my post-pregnancy experiences such as my sleep schedule or lack there of and how it has effected me (Previously I was a sleep queen), returning to my pre-pregnancy weight (for the most part), etc.