By Guest Blogger Melanie Vaughn
It’s been a few years since I feared seeing the numbers on a scale. Furthermore, it’s been a few years since I feared counting calories.
As a pre-teen, I became anorexic. The thoughts and words of others greatly affected me to the point if I wasn’t wearing little girl sizes I was “too big”. This haunted me well into my 20s. The hospitals, threats of feeding tubes, rotting teeth, my deterioration in my health, none of them phased me. If I liked what distortion I saw in the mirror, I continued the risk. The words of the media, words of social media, and words of others about the “ideal body” made me fight for it more.
We never realize how much words stick with us, but they do linger. For me they lingered for over 10 years.
Now I’m in recovery from eating disorders, but it’s always a constant battle that you have to fight. Turning your eyes and ears away for the temptation always exists. You must fight it and having a support system helps make the battle easier.
It wasn’t until my husband and I talked about one day having children that the understanding of taking care of myself matters. Also, it was then that I had to come to terms with the fact that my eating disorder had caused so many long-term effects on me and it became much harder to have our wonderful family. You are never fully recovered, but instead always in recovery. There’s always that voice in the back of your head giving you those what ifs, even if it’s been years.
Little things like taking the advice of eating whole grain more, a few more supplements to get me back on track; these were things that may help us have our family. It wasn’t until Christmas that we found out we were expecting our son. While I was overjoyed at the miracle, I feared the voice of anorexia popping into my head. It was the doctors asking me “do you think you can be okay with all these changes?” Almost if they doubted me. It was them forcing me to turn my back from the scale in fear of regression until one day I said, “I want to look.”
There was something that mattered more than a number on the scale, it was my son and keeping him healthy. If you have eating disorders, then you’re more likely to have more complications. So I wanted to do everything I could to make sure my beautiful boy was ok.
For once, I was okay with taking in more food. I wanted to know calories and if I thought they were too low, I wanted more. Food didn’t always have to be the enemy. Instead, food was nutrients to keep my son healthy and safe. I didn’t have that voice in the back of my head, I could easily tune out the media’s expectations, I would do anything for my son.
Every day I looked in the mirror and I was proud of what I saw. I saw him and my body protecting him. Additionally, I want my son to know all bodies are beautiful. I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know that he has saved me. Plus, he will continue to save me because I am who I am because of him choosing me as his mother. He is the start of an uncertain future that allows me to protect him because he has protected me.
*Photos by Regina Poplin