National Eating Disorders Association

June; when the earth’s axis begins to be more equal.  

Rushing to put our feet into the sand and finding the perfect location to catch the sun’s rays. I dreaded this time filled with endless barbecues, and events centered around foods that my eating disorder (ED) said were outside of his strict guidelines.

I am a wife, mother, friend and Sailor. 

As far back as I can remember, I sought solace from the trauma of my childhood with the mystical magic of the ocean - Dolphins, mermaids, the infinite depths of the water brought me peace and hope.

It made sense that I would one day join the US Navy and spend two decades as a Sailor. 

Like most of us, I experienced personal struggles and setbacks that threatened to steer me off course. I always found resiliency deep down and managed to navigate through stormy waters.

Recovering from an eating disorder is hard enough but it can be especially challenging when the general information and approach don’t necessarily fit with your experience.  When navigating eating disorder recovery as an autistic person, here are some things to keep in mind:

1.     Find a team that understands both autism AND eating disorders

Happy Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month!

This is a much needed spotlight on the mental health for all mamas in any stage of their journey through motherhood.

“1 in 5 women experience mental health concerns during pregnancy and after childbirth, but most go undetected and untreated” (Diamond, 2023).

“Have you ever had an eating disorder?” the intake nurse asked me.

 It was an easy enough question, one that I would normally answer, “Yes.” But, on that day, sitting next to my husband in a large fertility clinic on Long Island, I felt compelled to lie.

“I used to diet. A lot,” I offered.

It wasn’t until she asked me to elaborate that I came clean. But now, over a decade later, I ask myself, “Why?” Why did I feel guilt over my past eating disorder while I was trying to get pregnant?

The Infertility Journey

Pregnancy is a vulnerable period for women with a history of an eating disorder. Pregnant women with an eating disorder may imply feeling increasingly out of control with one’s body and one’s life. Some pregnant women with a history of an eating disorder may describe the process as “chaotic, unpredictable, shameful, and a sense of a loss of control.”

Eating Disorders & Pregnancy: What’s the Relationship?

The relationship between eating disorders and pregnancy is complicated. Women with eating disorders are more likely to struggle with infertility and are at an increased risk for pregnancy complications, such as preterm birth, low birth weight, birth defects, and even miscarriage. At the same time, pregnancy can be a trigger for eating disorders in women who are vulnerable to developing them.

I grew up imagining life like most do… get through high school, choose a career path, go back to school, get married, have cute kids, and live happily ever after. Call me old fashion, but that’s how I envisioned it all happening. 

Fast forward to my adult life - half of those things happened…I got through school, chose a career, went back to school, got married…

Pregnancy is a wild time. Not only are you flooded with hormones and opinions, but your body is changing. The body that you have been told to strive for perfection in, will no longer be the one you know. Messages targeted to cis women during this time mostly focus on the “bounceback”: 

“Grow your child. But just big enough—the bigger they are, the harder it is to get your body back.”