By: Jaime Teich, Project HEAL Guest Blogger
For the first time since the age of 7 I have found comfort in having a big round belly.
For the first time I’ve allowed it. I’ve found happiness in it. Beauty. But most importantly, I’ve found love. This big, round belly has become home to my son. And watching it grow week-by-week, and day-by-day (and what sometimes feels like minute-by-minute) has been an adventure that once scared me into almost not taking the plunge.
I started this journey 17 weeks ago. It took a bit more than six months for us to finally see the positive sign emerge from the pregnancy test, during which I worked, prayed, perspired, doubted and eventually accepted that with recovery I can overcome my eating disorder. That I have. And continue to. Despite having lived in disease for 26 years, I was in the healthiest of places when this journey began. Being defined by the words that obsessively circled my mind Compulsive Overeater,Bulimic, Restrictor. It was these words and their subsequent actions that made me fear ever becoming pregnant. These words and their actions that made me feel I could never be adequate enough to place my unborn child before my own sickness.
With my recovery came the sincerest of honesty. An honesty I thought I had already attained, but was so far from my reach that to this day it still amazes me that it has arrived. I had to become honest with my eating disorder. And myself. I had to learn how to decipher between the two voices, as well as the new addition of the third as with pregnancy comes cravings and aversions and the need to consistently and healthily nourish my body. This body was no longer mine and it was in that message I found acceptance.
I knew the moment I learned that I was going to become a mother that I would have to forsake the body I had finally learned to love and what it eats, looks like and how it operates. And I was doing it all for my son. With this big, round belly I have found freedom.