Eating Disorder and Motherhood: Taking Care of Others but Not Ourselves

Motherhood is the pinnacle of selflessness. From pregnancy through growth we strive to meet our children needs. We sacrifice our wants, desires, and sometimes self-care to be present for our families. Motherhood is beautiful, fulfilling and a gift but nothing is perfect. Motherhood can be overwhelming, both physically and mentally.

For a mother who is dealing with an eating disorder while trying to raise a family it is extremely intense. An eating disorder is an illness. I have been suffering with mine for 12 years. For any individual who may be suffering with this illness –

I see you, I feel your pain and I want us to get out of this darkness together. 

We cannot battle this overwhelming burden on our own while attempting to care for our loved ones. We may look ordinary on the outside but inside we are suffering. It comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes barely noticeable and sometimes extremely. My disorder began when I was 15 and stemmed from years of being bullied. Ignorance starts young. I ask myself if these bullies were raised with a sheltered reality. But, I cannot point fingers. I do know it impacted me greatly in my journey of self love as a child.

I suffer from bulimia and body dysmorphia.

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Becoming pregnant was life changing. That was the game changer because when god blesses you with a child a power within you takes over. I stopped cold-turkey during my pregnancies. But, every time I got near the end of my pregnancy I told myself that I could beat this on my own…I would stay strong. And for the first 3 to 4 months I did but my disorder would creep back into my life.

After years of allowing my darkness to control me I am exhausted. My nose has dried blood in it from the pressure of making myself sick, I have cold sores on my mouth, my chest hurts, my hands have scars from making myself sick, my teeth are becoming ruined, and much more. 

For women who suffer with bulimia we attempt to live as ordinarily as possible for our families sake. Depending on how severe your eating disorder is, I find meal times the biggest struggle. Trying to plan a cohesive meal for my husband and kids is discouraging. My relationship with food is terrible. When you are trying to recover from bulimia on your own your first ‘step‘ is to stay away from food, to prevent the episodes from occurring. This is wrong.

As much as we want to prevent our eating disorder, the honest truth is this cannot happen with self-will alone. I’ve tried to beat this on my own for 12 years. The concept of treatment has always been pushed aside for me. I think many mothers who are going through this fear of leaving their children in another’s care, fear of appearing like a failure, and what will happen to the family dynamic if we are not present.

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Children cannot be properly cared for in the competing presence of an eating disorder.

Whether you decide to go to treatment or not let’s speak about our illness. Silently I’ve let it control me. Let’s break the silence by doing this we are taking the steps of letting ourselves free.

It takes a village‘ a quote we hear often about motherhood. But, it also takes a village on the road to self love and recovery. Bingeing and purging does not just stop on its own without having a support team who can educate and encourage our journey. Just like any disease it must be treated right away. It is crucial that you give yourself the grace, permission, and time to heal from this eating disorder. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

I want to be whole again. I want to feel freedom and not feel imprisoned to bulimia and the depression that accompanies it – I want to be the best mother I can be. If you are just beginning your journey you deserve to be a mother who loves herself entirely. I am starting my road to recovery. Will you join me?

 

Words by Mother Muse Shereen Jupp

 

 

 

 

 

 

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