In introducing this month’s Butterfy Effect theme of CONNECTING, I am honored to share an interview by the founder of Recovery Warriors, Jessica Raymond, MS. Recovery Warriors is a multimedia resource hub for hope and healing from an eating disorder. Here is a link to the podcast: RecoverywarriorsPodcast
The desire to become a mom can be a motivating factor in eating disorder recovery. However,the challenges of pregnancy and the postpartum period mirror the early stages of recovery. Both pregnant and new mothers and women recovering from eating disorders experience anxiety, body image distress, difficulty sleeping, hormonal changes, appetite changes, and ambivalence/excitement/distress around cultivating a new identity. In this episode of The Recovery Warrior Show, expert Dr. Linda Shanti shares personal and professional stories of recovering from an eating disorder and entering into motherhood. Listen in regardless of where you are at in the biological cycle because there is much to learn.
What You’ll Learn
- Why people don’t talk about miscarriages
- How pregnancy is similar to early stages of recovery
- Why you need to be proactive in seeking professional help before having a baby?
- Why how a mother eats affects her child
- Is there a right time to have a kid
The moment a child is born, the mother is also born. She never existed before. The woman existed, but the mother, never. A mother is something absolutely new. -Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Advice to Former Self
You’ll get through this honey, you will. It’s going to change you and it is changing you and that’s ok; that’s the way it’s supposed to be. There’s no parallel life that you’re supposed to be leading; this is it, this is not a detour. Just because you’re suffering doesn’t mean you’re on the wrong path; you’re absolutely on the right path. Keep going.
Definition of Recovery
Taking care of yourself physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Not engaging in behaviors that hurt me. Moving toward growth edges. Accepting my body as it is. Allowing and inviting all feelings. Lowering the bar on perfectionism. Thinking in the rainbow between black and white. Listening to my heart and connecting with a larger purpose.
1) Having a birth plan determines the way labor and delivery happens.
Creating a a birth plan is important as a guide, while realizing the baby has not read the plan.
2) Good mothers easily breastfeed.
Breastfeeding can be easy or difficult, and most likely, both. Good mothers breastfeed, good mothers formula feed, and good mothers do both.
3) You can (and should) get your baby to sleep through the night.
Your baby may sleep at night, may not sleep at night, and may sleep in spurts or have difficulty sleeping. There are lost of tools you can try for assisting your baby to learn good sleep habits and some of them may be effective.
4) Only bad (poor, mentally ill, single, uncaring) mothers get depressed.
Postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders affect 1 in 5 women. There is no correlation with level of caring or direct predictive factor with previous mental illness, level of income, marital status. Recovery is possible. You do not have to suffer alone.
5) You can get your pre-baby body back & this determines your happiness.
Your body will change after having a baby. There are various places this happens, some of them may go back to the “way they were” and some of them won’t. You can still be a happy, fulfilled, sexy, empowered, loved woman. Getting your stomach back is not the key ingredient in this equation.
6) You will be mostly the same person with a few acutraments like a diaper bag after having a baby.
You will not be the same person anymore. Motherhood changes you, in profound ways you can’t imagine ahead of time. And this develops over time. Give yourself at least as much patience, kindness, time, and commitment as you do your baby as you grow your new mother identity.
7) You will and should feel sexy and available to your partner postpartum.
You will most likely feel exhausted, pulled on to care for your baby physically, have challenging body image, and your hormones can take years to re-regulate. It’s ok to include these challenges in assessing your availability for and communicating with your partner.
10) You should have the “right” daycare, preschool, college lined up for your child prior to giving birth.
There is not a shortage of schools. Finding the right school is a sorting problem, not a shortage problem. You can take your time, notice your child’ temperament, and re-asses ongoingly throughout your child’s life for the right fit. YOU are the constant that is a safe secure base from which to learn, grow, and be them self.
There are many, many, many resources available for support if you are wanting to challenge these myths!
For a list, see: the “Pregnancy and New Mothers section” http://www.drlindashanti.com/resources.html