How it feels to be pregnant and suffering with an eating disorder

“At first it was hard to accept that my eating disorder was back. I felt so ashamed,”
Pregnancy and eating disorder

Pregnancy and eating disorder

A pregnant woman who suffers from an eating disorder has been sharing her experiences via Facebook, in a bid to help others like her from suffering in silence.

Penelope, who started site The Penelope Project to share her struggle, suffered with an eating disorder for over a decade. But in 2009, after treatment, the expectant mother recovered and has campaigned since to create awareness around eating disorders.

But after falling pregnant earlier this year, Penelope relapsed, with her eating disorder demons raising their ugly heads once more.

Writing on her page, Penelope explains: “I recovered from an eating disorder (OSFED) 8 years ago which I had all but forgotten after silently suffering for over a decade and have since been openly creating awareness, support, love and healing in eating disorders.

“I fell pregnant this year and I was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum. This pregnancy complication affected me not only physically but also emotionally and re-trigged my eating disorder during my second trimester of pregnancy.

“This story documents my personal struggle coming to terms and recovering from an eating disorder during pregnancy and the potential journey ahead of me to heal again.”

In an article for Essential Baby, Penelope explains how she denied having an eating disorder for years.

“It was my friend, my safety net, my shield and my identity. By starving and purging away the self-loathing, worries and struggles that lay inside, I truly believed that my eating disorder was the saviour to my feelings.”

But after recovering from her illness later in her life, Penelope was struck down with the same condition in 2016, after being diagnosed with severe morning sickness during her first pregnancy.

“At first it was hard to accept that my eating disorder was back. I felt so ashamed,” Penelope writes.

“But slowly, with support, I’m finding my feet again and coming out of my dark place.”

**You can follow Penelope’s story here.

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