Please do not get me wrong, I am beyond ecstatic that Gareth and I are lucky enough to soon become parents. I know it will be tough, especially trying to live up to the expectations that I now have. I had a great childhood, wonderful caring parents, and I certainly came first in their lives. I can’t wait to meet this little one and start guiding and helping my child through their life.
But there are a few things that no one tells you about the journey there. And certain topics are just frowned upon by the glowing mother earth ladies….
No one told me how stressful and depressing it is to put on weight so quickly. Yes, yes, before you all shun me and tell me that it is good for the baby, I know this, but that doesn’t make it any easier. I realise this stems from my past, it just saddens me that this demon still occasionally haunts me.
For years in my late teens and early twenties I struggled with an eating disorder. As an ex ballet dancer, I guess weight was a bit of a taboo subject, and I was at a point in my life that a lot of things didn’t make much sense. I think I used my bulimia as a form of control, I was able to manage this one aspect of who I was, and before I knew it it had taken over. Sadly it landed up ruining relationships, destroying trust and causing more damage to my body than I could have imagined. It took years to be completely free of it, but by then I had developed an unhealthy relationship with myself! The cycle of self loathing and self destruction is a tricky one, because you know that you know better! But thankfully, after many, and I really do mean many different therapy trials and errors, I got there. A combination of unconditional support and love from my parents, the correct medicinal balance and learning to be able to talk about it saw me through to the other side. This other side will never be completely food-demon free, but it is a place where I finally learned to accept me, and my body, what ever shape it is. Until pregnancy, that is….
I know it’s part of this incredible experience, and so many woman love the fact that they blossom into pregnant goddesses, just sadly right now I am not one of them. My nurse was so pleased that I had put on 5 kilograms at my 19 week check up, I however wanted the floor to swallow me up! I know I should just “get over it” as I have heard so many times in my life, but that’s the whole thing. I know I can’t be the only one, and that’s why I felt a need to share this. I can’t be alone with this fear that I will be be an overweight, unhealthy mum who can’t keep up with her child, someone who is ashamed to wear a swimming costume, or my biggest fear, that I inadvertently pass these awful weight and body image phobias onto my child. I know there are much more important things I should be focusing on, but sometimes it can be all consuming. I know that they mean no harm, but when a neighbour tells you that “yes, your face is looking much fatter these days”, is it wrong for me to want to punch them?
Doing what we are doing, and making the choices we have has been a massive challenge at times, but also one of my proudest achievements. We had an idea that we wanted a new life, a better, healthier and more sustainable life, and with planning (very little…well, virtually none), a dream and some courage, we did it. I think that we all have that strength in us, we just need to learn how to channel it towards the right things and not dwell on the negatives.
I honestly believe a great part of the healing process, whatever pain or damage it may be, is talking. It makes you think about the past, to articulate your side, and gives others an opportunity to present their experiences. Together you learn to listen to each other, and often find comfort in the truth that you are not alone, that often others have much greater burdens in their lives yet they still manage to thrive. And from there, you can move on stronger and with a clearer mind. That is why I wanted to share this, not to be self pitying, or negative, the opposite in fact. I wanted it to be a positive reminder that we are all going through things, and sometimes there are bumps along the way. Sometimes talking or sharing these bumps in your journey makes others realise they can too!