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From “Pro-Ana” to Post-Partum (Annie)

April 27, 2010

Pregnancies-2 Births-2
14 months postpartum
25 yearsold
Daughter 3 years old Son 14 months

I went from worshiping this

042710-annie-1

to this

042710-annie-2

I suffered… uh.. have been suffering…well.. am struggeling against having.. ugh.. I HAVE an eating disorder. Kinda like … once and Alcoholic always an alcoholic… if im not very carefull I trip and fall flat on my face. Anorexia and bulima have been a contant companion, violent relentless enemy, savior and murderer to me for 12 years now. It began quietly… at first then before I knew it took over my whole life, my mind, my heart and my soul. It took me out and threw me in the trash and filled every part of my ever diminishing life oozing, and destroying, slowly killing me. I ended up at 19 in and out of the ER untill 20 when I was interventioned into treatment after 6 months and a whole whirlwind of drama i left treatment, I got married suddenly to an old friend from high school and with in 3 months we were pregnant. We… rather… I wanted to get pregnant. I wanted nothing more in life then to have a whole family, something that was truely mine. I wasnt ready … I didnt like the out of control feeling I had when my then pretty thin and in-shape body started to morph and change. With morning sickness so intense I had my very own room at the OB office for daily IV fluids. Morning sickness gave way back in to purging… back in to bulimia. Through the whole pregnancy I was bulimic. I was intensly asshamed and hated that I was hurting my baby but I had lost my self then. at 38 weeks they induced labor because of pre-eclampsia and 48 hours later my perfect daughter was born. She has some respritory complications but they were caused by a medication they gave me during labor to keep my blood presure down, not because of anything I had done. Praise God that she was okay. After a short stent in the NICU she came home healthy and happy and hasnt looked back since. I however was not happy. I loved my child Loved her soooo much! but I HATED my body. within a few months I gave way back to bulimia after troubles breast feeding and having to pump constantly I felt like a cow.. I felt like I looked like a cow and I couldnt stand it. At 9 months PP I ended up in treatment again at Remuda Ranch envying the girls with feeding tubes.. a few months later we got pregnant again with my son. This time I switched from Bulimia to Anorexia and 1 month into the pregnancy my husband deployed to iraq leaving me sick with morning sickness again and a VERY srong willed 1 yearold. needless to say things didnt go well. I lost 14 pounds before I gained anything…. 3 months later my husband was “Red Crossed” home because I was starving myself and my unborn son to death. I entered treatment again at a place in Florida and finally gained weight. I was 6 months pregnant and you could barely tell. One month after I left Florida I gave birth prematurely to a 6 pound baby boy. In contrast to the first delivery I had this one went smoothly and calmly and My Son had no complications even being a month premautre. He was tiny though and still is to this day.
Things have been different this time around. I dont have as much time to worry about my body I fall in and out of eating disordered behaviors but not quite with ther ferocity that I once had. I still hate my body. I really hate it.. And I hate the weight to height chart ratio things.. acording to it Im overweight… first time in my life! I had to stop playing Wii fit cause it was killing me inside to hear it tell me everyday.. “thats over weight!” ugh.
I know what my eyes see in the mirror isnt what everyone else sees but it’s still tormenting. I went from Unmarried and (sadly) pro Ana ( which is a “cultish” internet community that encourages eating disorders as a “way of life” instead of something that is life threatening and DISORDERED… ) to a married mom of two small children.
Beyond the body and eating issues I love my children and Im begining to love my life more and more everyday. After my son was born I had my tubes tied so that I couldnt have another pregnancy and put another precious life at risk. But.. in my heart I feel like there is a third child waiting to be born. And In time I pray that My loving and forgivning God in heaven will change me and prepare me to receive that child is it is his will one day. Hopefully in a healthy and natural way. My children keep my mind and my heart busy and as long as I am walking with God he keeps my soul busy too. And thus there should be no time for eating disorders… only passing glances in the mirror and a few tormenting moments thinking about summer seasons and bathing suits and what not.. but then a loving sweet voice calls out.. ” Momma… I need help… Momma.. read book… ” and I am called back to reality.. where it really doesnt matter what my body looks like.. Who cares! I am healthy… and my children are healthy ( thank God) and my husband who has weathered my “whole storm” has percivered and still loves me just the way I am, strech marks, sagging, wider hips and all.
One day… maybe I can feel the same way too, but for now.. I focus on what I do like. Like.. Im a kick butt mom! and I do a pretty good job at keeping the house clean, among MANY other things.. oh.. and I like my hair… lol…see it’s not all bad.
For the moms out there struggeling.. The thing I find the most helpful is to surround myself with strong women who arent ashamed of their bodies.. not that they love them or think they are prefect… but.. we are moms.. we have much to be proud of. I feel so inspired when I see a mom at the pool that isnt prefect but isnt hiding it.. CONFIDENCE>>> that’s attractive. no matter what you look like… yep.
Well that is all Im gonna give, too much to little… who knows. but thats the story of my body. Hope it helps someone!

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23 Responses to “From “Pro-Ana” to Post-Partum (Annie)”

  1. tanya Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 7:51 am

    thank you so much for your story!! i m so happy to hear you have good moments when your babys call out your name.. they can be so powerful hey :) you look gorgeous in yur new body!!!

  2. monika Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    :-)

  3. a friend Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Thank you thank you for the post, although Ive never gone through with an eating disorder I certainly feel like I go through it in my head. At 5″8″ and 141 I feel repulsive. I often wish (how disgusting is that) that I would have the “strength” to go through with it so I wouldnt be so gross to look at. I SO appreciated reading this. You have overcome a lot! You are stronger than you will ever know! (1 Corinthians 10:13)

    By the way… before I ever even read the post I saw your pictures and could not believe how gorgeous your body was in the second one!

  4. Trisha Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I don’t want to sound rude but I have to say what is on my mind. I honestly feel like you look a million times better in the second picture than you do in the first. I know how you feel though and the opinions from other people probably don’t change your mind about your body one bit. At least they don’t help me any. :)

  5. Outspoken Tomato Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    I, too, struggle with an eating disorder. I haven’t been a “functioning” anorexic in a few years, but sometimes each day feels like a struggle. Thanks for sharing your experience. Your “new shape” honestly looks fantastic! You really have a great looking body! ^_^

  6. meredith Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Thank you for finding the courage to post your story. I hope you are able, at some point, to get into counseling. Eating disorders, as insidious as they are, are usually the manifestation of a deep unresolved trauma, pain, or sense of a loss of control. No one deserves to live like this. I sincerely hope you are able to confront those demons. Congrats on your healthier body.

  7. Sheila Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 6:32 pm

    I honestly think that your new body looks great! As a former anorexic who also dabbled in bulimia in her younger years I know that it can be a difficult to accept and believe compliments, but I truly don’t see any of the flaws which you may perceive yourself to have.

    Personally, I never received “treatment”, but I still struggle somewhat with body image issues to this day. It must be a lot like alcohol addiction in that way. I am currently 5’7″ and weigh 145lbs, which is pretty average I guess. At my lowest I was 105lbs. At that weight I was getting sick all the time and was even hospitalized with pneumonia. What eventually triggered me to get better was the shame from me coming to realize that other people were also aware of my problem. It killed me to know that I was hurting others as well. I honestly don’t think eating disorders are as much about body image as they are about trying to gain control of your life.

    These days I just try to live a happy life and try not to pay attention to the scale. I wear things that flatter me best. The times that I am least concerned about my physical appearance are when I pour my energies into other things to keep me busy and give me confidence: my children, hobbies, education, work, play, etc.

    I hope you find the strength to get better. If anything to save your daughter from the same body image issues. Thank you so much for sharing your story! You are very brave and beautiful mama!

  8. ava Says:
    April 27th, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    I posted about my trouble with my eating disorder under avs. It is really hard caring for a child and having to deal with the stress of everything alone. I just want you to know that someone is there and although they don’t know you they know what you are going through and they hope you are ok. I hope you find the strength to accept yourself and realize that our idea of perfection doesn’t mean happiness it just leads us away from happiness.

  9. Sarah Says:
    April 28th, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    You look so much more healthy now! The first photo was really shocking to me! Keep it up! You are so strong and you are an example. I am hearing a lot of really good things from what you’re saying about confidence being sexy — AND IT IS! You are healing and you recognize your illness. You are so strong in my eyes because of that. It’s not easy to admit to weakness, addiction, illness, etc. Bless you! Thank you for sharing your story!

  10. Sara Says:
    April 29th, 2010 at 5:05 am

    Wow, you look great in the second picture! Healthy, smooth skin, a lovely belly – very attractive.

  11. Tabitha Says:
    April 29th, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    You look beautiful in the second picture. I’ve taken belly dance classes at one of those places where it’s mainly about accepting and delighting in your body – and I must say, I’ve been a little jealous of the ones who look just like you do.

  12. Col Says:
    April 29th, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    You look so much healthier in the second picture! Congrats! You’re so beautiful and damn sexy!

  13. Kristine Says:
    April 30th, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I also struggle with bulimia but I think I’m passed the worst of if. I’m a mom to 2 boys & have always been a big girl. I’m 5’9″ and usually stay right around 172. At my best I was down to 165. However, I was fortunate in that my body figured out a way to outsmart my mind. When I’d purge, I’d always wind up with strep throat. I was this way from age 15 to age 25 so there’s no telling how much damage I actually did to my body but now I accept it for what it is…a mothers body that my boys love unconditionally & I wouldn’t have it any other way. Mothers should have a few extra curves or a little extra padding so that we’re not bony to cuddle with when our little ones need some lovin’! ?

    You’re a strong woman for posting your pictures! Thanks for sharing. You look BEAUTIFUL just the way you are!!!

  14. Anonymous Says:
    April 30th, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    I know exactly how you feel. I spent years hating my body and hated being ‘fat’ when I got pregnant. I knew the damage it was doing to starve myself, but did it anyway. Please please please just remember the example you’re setting for your daughter and that you don’t want her to suffer like you did. That’s what keeps me eating and my weight up.

  15. beck Says:
    May 3rd, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    Pregnant moms are so scrutinized, especially the first few months. I’m constantly being told I look heavier, wider even swollen, gosh I’m only 7 weeks! Its as if there is an expectation that only a belly should grow. So I’m already feeling insecure for something natural. I commend you for sharing this information and your pics, you are nothing short of a godess

  16. Lily Says:
    June 8th, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    I love you, Annie. You are so brave, so beautiful, and a great friend and mom. :)

  17. cerenatee Says:
    June 12th, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    I know how you feel. I wish we didn’t always have to go to the extremes in every thing we do. Neither being under weight or over weight is the answer but for us, there’s rarely an in between. I wish you the best for yourself and your family. God bless.

  18. Kate Says:
    July 3rd, 2010 at 9:57 am

    Annie, thanks so much for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage. I’m actually working on a research project about this in order to get more support for women who struggle with EDs during pregnancy. Would you be interested in participating in the project? I think your story would add an amazing perspective. Please shoot me an email if you’re interested (kmb2173@columbia.edu). Take care :)

  19. pregotastic Says:
    July 31st, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Thank you so much Annie, your story is very inspiring and i admire your courage. I found it very helpful to read as i struggle with an eating disorder too and im 7months pregnant. I have managed to eat through my pregnancy but struggle as im not used to not restricting, so as a result im gaining twice as much weight as i should. I find this terrifying but know it’s better for baby to just eat whatever and ignore diet issues at least while im pregnant. It’s not easy as people seem to think its okay to scrutinize your body when you’re pregnant (it’s difficult enough for someone with an ed gaining pregnancy weight without thoughtless comments).

    I really wish there was some sort of support out there for pregnant women with eating disorders as i really dont feel i would fit in at any meetings at the moment and its a whole other territory when you bring in pregnancy to the equation.

    Anyway the point is, you are beautiful (especially the 2nd picture), you are brave, and you sharing your story has helped me, so thank you xx

  20. L Says:
    November 22nd, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you more than words can express. I look at your body postpartum and it’s so curvy and lovely, what I imagine a real woman to look like. And it looks like my body. It makes me realize I am more beautiful than I give myself credit for. And you’re right- confidence and being a good mom is way more important that looking perfect on the outside. I’m glad I found this website. I needed to know that I am beautiful today and your story reminded me of that.

  21. aNON Says:
    December 27th, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you so much for this; my smallest was 115 (@ 19, 5’8) and my heaviest (27 & postpartum) was 250+. I have struggles every day with food, sometimes eating maybe 700 cal. to try and lose the last 40 lbs. I’m currently 185 and feel a cow, so it’s comforting to see other women go through what I am going through.
    I want to give in, and start that path to invisibility again; looking at my son stops that. It’s hard though.

  22. Kate Says:
    July 6th, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Thanks for writing this. I started off this last pregnancy way fatter than I ever thought I would be again (normal for me was 100 lbs, 5’9″- due to a meds reaction , I swelled to 130). I gained another 47 pounds while pregnant . I was induced two weeks early because my OB thought I would harm myself if I gained another ounce- and she was right. Now I am sitting here with my wonderful children- including a 2 month old- just hating myself every minute of the day. I hate that I have destabilized their lives so much over the past few years with going in and out of treatment. I hate that I never stopped the bulimia during pregnancy (thankfully, I guess, I stopped the anorexia). I hate thatI put my baby in his crib and hear him crying from the separation- so that I can go vomit. I am worried that I have thrown off my potassium again- having those same body aches again- and that I will have to fess up to a doctor again soon to get my K checked- and be at risk of another forced hospitalization. This sucks- but it helps to know I am not alone.

  23. shae Says:
    September 28th, 2014 at 10:55 pm

    Thank you.. I’ve been through treatment 6 times.. I’m 22 and a new momma.. my son is 4 months old.. I really struggled through my pregnancy.. I’m 5 feet and my lowest was 69 lbs.. now I’m 120.. I have horrible stretch marks and my wedding ring is tight. I struggle so much with how I look now.. your story shows such strength I hope I can also soon build.. inspiring. . I needed it

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