Save Our Daughter series. If you have not read part I, please read it for background information on why/how I became bulimic. Please don't judge me for being so open and honest. Feel free to stop reading if you are offended. My hope is to touch someone who may have been, or is still going, through the same thing. I also want to give some background for part III of my series, which will be about trying to help G avoid a poor body-image and complications of that.
I am a smart woman. I knew being bulimic was unhealthy.
I sought help. I told my mom. She really only worried about me more. I went to the student health center. I was given a counselor, a nutritionist, and a doctor. They have a great program set up to (try to) help students get better. I wasn't really ready to change though, so none of that helped. I thought I was ready to get better...but I guess I wasn't.
I prayed. I knew God doesn't make junk, but I separated the action of being bulimic from who I was as a person. Thus, it was someone else who did all that binge/purge stuff. I didn't know that girl. I only hope God can forgive me for being so selfish.
When I met the man who would become my husband, things just felt right. Our relationship was serious from the get-go. Marriage was inevitable, and part of being soul mates is the ability to trust completely. 14 months after my bulimia started, I broke down and told my future husband all about it. This was only 4 months after we started dating. He reacted the only way someone truly in love could...concern, care, and desire to help me get better. He didn't push me away, think that I was broken, or get angry. Together, we talked about how it started, why it was bad, and how I could get better. He loved me-broken me-and that gave me hope that I could get better. One of the sweetest things he said to me: "You have to get better, because I was reading, and bulimic women have a lot harder time trying to get pregnant...and we want to have a family." He had read all about bulimia, it's health affects, and how to be supportive to me.
Just like the road to hell, the road to recovery is paved with good intentions. I swore I'd be better by the time we got married. Though I wanted to get better, I slipped up a few times. From marriage until graduation (18 months), there were less than 10 occasions. That's not bulimia, by the medicinal definition, but it certainly isn't fully recovered. I don't think recovering from an eating disorder is something that happens very quickly.
After we moved to our current home, there was one time. It was June of 2010.
That's hard for me to admit, because it wasn't that long ago. Before that, it had been at least 6 months. The "reason" for that binge/purge was because I had gained weight, despite working out and eating right. I was craving junk food sooooo bad. I let myself binge/purge, despite the hard work I had been doing to be healthy. Turns out, I had just become pregnant.
When I found out I was pregnant, my mind flashed to that episode and I was horrified. What had I done?? I was pretty worried about the baby until our 20 week sonogram, when I was assured he or she was healthy and growing just find.
That was the last time I've had a bulimic action. Sure, I still get down on my body sometimes...but in a much more normal way. It is not easy. Alcoholics can give up alcohol. Smokers can give up cigarettes. Those suffering from an eating disorder cannot simply give up food. There are a lot of people suffering from an eating disorder than never find help, or they give up hope. I pray for them. Staying healthy, and trying to maintain a positive relationship with food and my body is hard. Thankfully, I do have support and for some reason, a stronger-than-ever will power.
I don't know how or why, but after becoming a mom, my body image has improved somewhat. I carried a baby, my body (with God, of course) nurtured her into being, I gave birth, and I am nursing her. I am now completely responsible for a little girl's well-being. She needs me, more than I need to be "perfect." I eat a well-balanced diet. I work out because I want to, and if I don't feel like it...I don't. I have love handles, 'momma' marks, jiggly thighs, and a rounder-than-I'd-prefer belly, but I accept them.
Within the past year I've truly come to believe my physical appearance is nothing compared to my personality, soul, and actions. My husband says the nicest thing about me is my "extreme caringness." Not my body. G doesn't care about my body either. Pass the dessert, because I could die tomorrow and no one will say, "oh, she was so fat, she ate too much ice cream!" I hope they will say, "oh, she was really sweet." So long as I am healthy and taking care of myself...what will be, will be. To be clear, having this outlook doesn't justify eating any and everything while leading an inactive lifestyle. This outlook simply states, everything in moderation...right, mom?
That statement comes after 24 years of disordered thinking and 4 years of an eating disorder--and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I have to work at it everyday, but I'd call it recovery.
Being pregnant with G is what finally helped me recover, and I vow to do everything possible to keep her from falling victim to a poor body image, or worse--an eating disorder.
Stay tuned for part III of my Saving Our Daughters series for how I plan to do so.
For resources on recovering from an eating disorder, please see the National Eating Disorder Association.