I always thought I was a pretty good person: I love my mama, I believe in God, and I love loving on people; however, despite my innate desire to do good, I can readily admit that I am a far better person now than I once was.
In 2004, I was diagnosed with anorexia nervosa and admitted to Remuda Ranch in Wickenburg, Arizona. My time at Remuda coupled with the after-care support I received provided me with the first pivotal experience that truly changed who I am. Although I was discharged with a smile on my face and an additional 27 pounds on my body, the true testament to my recovery was my successful transition back into the real world. Without my supportive family, I'd be the first to tell you that recovery would have been impossible. I wish I could say the same was true of my then friends, You've all heard the saying: "in times like this, you find out who your true friends are."
Journal excerpt from my time at Remuda Ranch
Returning to Atlanta post-treatment was one of the most difficult things I have ever done (and for the record, returning to The Westminster Schools was even harder). In the months following my inpatient care, I realized I had never really had true friends to begin with. One by one, the girls in my exclusive friend group, The Forever Eight, dropped off and the initial support I had received dissolved into abject neglect. In less than a year, I had lost decade-long friendships, nearly 25% of my body weight, and the self-confidence I had never doubted. Perhaps, learning these things about me comes as surprise to you? I can confidently say, I would not be who I am today without experiencing the painful sting of adolescent abandonment.
With the threat of relapse behind me, and ten-plus years of maturing to boot, I found out I was pregnant. I would be lying if I told you that the idea of gaining a significant amount of weight didn’t disturb me. Long gone are the days of calorie counting and weighing myself incessantly, but the idea of gaining 25% off my body weight felt like a trigger. Before my weight gain manifest, I googled topics such as, “how much weight should I gain in the first trimester,” “how much weight should I gain overall during my pregnancy,” and “how much does my placenta weigh.” My mama could tell you that I’ve got the eating disorder bit handled (after all, she’s the one who fielded my many phone calls over the years when I’ve found myself stuck in analysis paralysis), but the thoughts - they never truly go away. Throughout my 7 months of pregnancy, I learned more about self-acceptance than I was prepared for. Some weeks I gained two pounds, some months I gained two pounds. Some photos made me cringe, other photos made me smile. While my normal worries hadn’t subsided, I learned to accept them for what they were; then, I kicked back in the bathtub and stared at my baby bump. I twirled around in the mirror marveling at curves I had never seen before. And finally, was able to adopt a carefree attitude about my ability to quickly outgrow outfit after outfit. While it wasn’t easy, it was real. Honestly, I feared that I would go into crazy mode trying to get my body back postpartum; miraculously, I have never cared less in my life. The worries are actually gone. My stomach isn’t as flat as it once was, my legs are not as toned, and my pre-baby clothes still fit a little awkward. Instead of focusing on those things, I’m focusing on the little miracle my husband and I created. Something about carrying a child makes you pause and reflect. All of the “phoney baloney” bible verses my mama used to read me, “your body is not your own,” blah blah blah, well they finally rang true. I’ve realized my body is way cooler than six pack abs and the skinniest thighs you’ve ever seen. I carried a baby, and birthed a baby, and now I am nourishing her with my body.
I hope you’ve enjoyed following my journey with Northside Hospital. To learn more about their maternity resources, check out their website here. It’s hard to believe I was sitting down to discuss our partnership last summer - we’ve come a long way. If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat feel free to shoot me an email email@example.com