Week 20 – Food Fears and Baby Belly

Finding out I was pregnant was an incredibly scary moment because I didn’t know what to expect, but at the same time, it was a relief. I find it really hard to admit to anyone that I have had problems with food in the past, so to be writing this post about my past is a massive challenge for me because it’s still hard to accept it myself.

I’ve always been slim and had a flat stomach and it’s something people have commented on my whole life which at some point turned into paranoia. Through school, I was picked on and people pointed out that my eating habits were strange because I could never eat in front of people and were very picky about what I did eat, so I just stopped. From breakfast at 7am until my tea at 6pm, I’d not eat anything my mum sent with me to school or use the money she gave me to buy a school dinner, it was a struggle for me.

People used to joke about how thin I was and make jokes about me being anorexic which most of the time they didn’t mean any harm, but it made me self-conscious about how I looked. For at least 3 years of school, it was a problem for me, but I always managed to maintain a healthy weight because of what I would eat at home and the family dinners my parents used to cook.

After leaving school in July 2013, I managed to control my meals throughout summer, but by the time college started in September, all those feelings about food came back to me. In the first 2 months of college, I went from 8 and a half stone (53kg) to just under 6 stone (37kg). My parents took me to the doctors thinking I was ill because I’d lost my appetite, those 10inch pizzas I could eat on a Saturday night made me sick and I could barely manage a slice. I was ill. I had bad stomach pains for months which no doctor could figure out no matter how many blood tests or MRI scans they did until they decided to refer me to a dietician.

From April 2014 until May 2015 I went to these appointments and every time I got weighed I said I didn’t want to know because I didn’t want to know if I was putting on weight. In May I was 40kg and my dietician told me because I think that’s when he knew I had a problem. I’d put on weight and lost it again because some days I could cope with an extra couple of potatoes on my plate but other days I couldn’t. When he told me my weight and BMI and asked me if I ever wanted children because the way I was going he couldn’t see me having my own, and I cried. Children were a part of my plan, (not for a good few years but they were still somewhere in my future) and I felt guilty for feeling fat when I clearly wasn’t. My leggings were baggy on my thighs and my now over-sized t-shirt was just one from a kids’ section. I knew eating was a problem for me, but until that point, I didn’t realise how bad I had gotten.

University changed me, I started going to the gym so I didn’t feel as guilty when I ate that little bit more, but those fears still sat at the back of my mind and I promised myself that 2016 would be the year I make myself proud and healthier.

From January 2016 until May 2016, I noticed I’d put on weight. I think meeting my partner was the turning point in my life because I wanted to look better for him and we’d go out for dinner a lot too so I was finding that balance between exercising the right amount and eating that little bit more. On our first meal out together, I was so nervous he was going to judge me for my eating habits but somehow he managed to make me forget about separating the colours on my plate and didn’t mind how long it took me to eat just half of it.

Although we weren’t trying for a baby (the thought hadn’t even crossed our minds), the fact that I could have one and I was going to be having one was a massive relief that I’d done something right with my body and I was becoming healthy.

I found out I’d put on nearly 2 stone since I was last weighed and for once that didn’t scare me.

Telling people that I was pregnant was scary, especially when they started to question my eating habits and how I was going to cope. Until now, I’ve managed to keep on top of my eating as I have the rest of the year but I’ve started to get a baby bump.

Being able to see our little one is a beautiful thing and I’m so grateful that our baby is starting to grow because it makes it more real, but what scares me is all those feelings I had about food will come back when I started to get a bigger belly.

Don’t get me wrong, I am looking forward to seeing my baby grow and show. Eating right and eating enough is so important in everyday life not just in pregnancy, and I know my baby needs the nutrients and food to grow healthily, but it does still scare me a little.

In time, things will be okay and I know I will adjust, but the support of my midwife and my partner (who is amazing) are what’s keeping me reassured that I’m doing okay right now. For the sake of our baby, I know my feelings about food have to be put aside but not ignored, and talking about these feelings helps a lot.

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