Humor In Pregnancy Can Help ED Mamas-To-Be

Your back hurts from the weight you’re carrying up front, random coarse dark hairs sprout out of your chin that your husband offers to pluck for you (thanks honey!), and oh dammit, is that one coming out of your cheek? Welcome to pregnancy or as Will Smith raps and because it’s catchy AF, “Bienvenidos a Pregnancy” (in Miami tune). Pregnancy comes with a lot of fun little changes to your body (thanks hormones!). Fortunately, not everyone will get every side effect.

However, there is one thing about pregnancy that is universally true for every woman who finds herself lucky enough to carry a little bundle, and this little tidbit may be daunting for a recovering anorexic–you are going to gain weight to the point where you don’t recognize your body. Yes, you heard me right, but don’t sound the alarms just yet (no one can do that like Queen Beyoncé anyway.) I am on pregnancy number two, so you will probably do the whole thing again and maybe again and again. If you are feeling crazy, maybe even Duggar status, no judgment here. Bottom line, it can’t be that terrible.

My advice is to take in this new body with acceptance and humor. Acceptance, for pretty obvious reasons, you are carrying the best thing that will ever happen to you so it is more than worth it. But sometimes rationalizing that fact with the ED Voice can be a losing battle. Yes, you know you have a beautiful baby in your belly and you are lucky as hell, but you still feel like a whale, and you start hating yourself for these feelings. What do you do? Try this new attitude I have developed –look at your body with humor goggles (like beer goggles, but they won’t steer you wrong.) I dare you– because if you can laugh in the face of your ED voice, you know you have really put this whole ED thing behind you.

For example, I am twenty-five weeks pregnant with my second child and my boobs have grown to a size quadruple D (minimal exaggeration) like I got a massive boob job, except they aren’t perky or pretty.

They are actually so big that they fascinate my fifteen-month old daughter.

Her eyes become large like she is watching a car wreck, fascination and horror filled baby browns, as she points and says “boo, boos,” what she calls my boobs or what used to be my boobs now replaced by two gigantic itchy veiny beasts.

“Yes, and they feel like boo boos too,” I say back to her and don’t correct her wordage, because damn, these things ache too, and my little girl may be on to something. So the humor in this situation is that my boobs are so obscene that they are now one of my daughter’s first words.

Your stomach will bulge outward to make room for your baby pushing your belly button in that direction. This creeps me out the most, because my belly button starts making it’s way to outie-status. Every day I slowly glance at it as it pushes a little more and more towards the surface. My husband and me joke about it, even making bets on the day when it will officially be like “hi, I am an outie, what’s up?”

I also tend to do things to lighten up my thoughts on my big round belly. Sometimes I will even paint a smiley face in lipstick on it. Why? Because it makes me laugh and gives my belly some character, a little personality, and some sass.

So if you are a recovering or recovered ED mama-to-be who is struggling with body acceptance during pregnancy try this humor approach. Find the funny in your new temporary body. You are blessed and humor can help you remember that—even with each hair on your chinny-chin-chin (And you will understand the three little pigs more than ever as a life bonus!).

A Rebel With A Cause

I struggled with anorexia for over two decades and laxative bulimia for the tail end ten years so that in itself is pretty risky behavior—and a long-haul of it. More risky than Tom Cruise sashaying in his underwear and singing into a hair brush. Come on Cruise, I put you to shame—real self-destruction is real risk not the Risky-Business-amateur-pimping you partook in-sheesh.

It’s ironic to me, because us anorexics are stereotypically (we vary, like everyone else) the straight A students, that always over achieved and never misbehaved. Sneaking out of the house? Not us, hand over mouth in surprised expression of disbelief. Never! We were always perceived as what is the conventional image of The Amish level of good. But even the Amish rebel too—ever here of Rumspringa[1]—they don’t call it the “running around” for no reason.

In reality we were lying to the world all along, creating a farce in a soapy (“squeaky clean”) bubble of perfection to mask our deadly illness. Take little old me for example. I never drank/did drugs in high school, never really dated, was always on the honor roll, yet during school free periods I was driving to drug stores out of area to purchase boxes of laxatives to sneak into my parents house for binges. Because yes I seemed like I had my shit together from an outside perspective, but at the end of the day I was so intent on my mission to skin and bones (really emotional numbness), that I would do and say anything to get people to look the other way and continue my ways of coping.

I mean I gave my parents no reason not to trust me. I wasn’t partying, binging on alcohol, all hours of the night. They even encouraged me to go out with friends and let myself relax.

“Stop being so hard on yourself. Life is too short.” I can still hear my mom whispering into my ear, as I slaved over my schoolwork on a typical Saturday night.

While some of my peers were partying Lil Wayne style, I was studying while secretly binging on food and laxatives or simply not eating to achieve the same high. I wasn’t sneaking out and getting a visible tattoo, yet I was secretly embroidering marks of self-harm into my skin in the privacy of my room. Clearly, I was daring in another way—my rebellion was just my secret.

We are all human. Human beings are flawed. There are usually cracks in the interior even if the exterior is pristine. We all have struggles and pain, heartache of some kind. Everyone has something that keeps him or her lying awake at night, thinking about life. We all need some way to numb-out and sometimes you pick up unhealthy ways, before you find the good ways (like exercise in moderation, reading a book, watching television, or writing). And if you are like me, sometimes those unhealthy ways turn into a deadly mental illness.

So yes, I was a rebel without a cause, doing things my parents wouldn’t approve of, lying through gritted teeth and fake smiles. The beauty of recovery is that now I am a rebel with a cause—the most important cause I ever participated in. I am a warrior of life, bravely showing up to the battlegrounds everyday and healthily participating. I am an eating disorder advocate, looking to help others who are stuck where I once was. I can be anything I want to be because nothing is holding me back.

It is so much easier to numb out than feel, that us who learn how to healthily feel are the champions of life (No and this was not from a fortune cookie believe it or not). So I encourage all you warriors out there to let yourselves feel and experience. There is nothing more amazing, sad, scary, and incredible in this world than feeling—but I am telling you it is worth it. We are all rebels in some way, but it is a much better way to live as a rebel with a cause—we get much more joy, love, experiences, and satisfaction (I can go on and on…)— than self-destruction. So find your cause rebel, and fight on…

[1]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumspringa