National Eating Disorders Association

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KAN123
Wife & new mother has an eating disorder

My wife is 1 1/2 years into a full blown eating disorder. Our marriage has gone from the envy of all our friends to rock bottom, with threats that she'll pack the baby up and leave. What a mess!

Side note: With the knowledge that I have gained with over a year of research and help from professionals, I believe that my wife has been dealing with this for a very long time-she was a highly functioning anorexic.

Prior to everything going in the crapper:

My wife and I had 8 fantastic years and had a relationship based on strong friendship, trust, love, & a vibrant sex life. We traveled the world, had great friends, made good money, and felt very fulfilled and blessed in life. I'm still, to this day, amazed at where we are today. She found out age 15 that she would have to go to great lengths to get pregnant-she kept this a secret from me for the first year of our relationship. She has never liked talking about this, and believe this is one of the main underlying issues with her ED. Over time I dealt with this reality and made peace with it. We knew what our options would be and if option A didn't work, then we'd move onto option B.

Option A ended up working for us, and through many months of stress and preparation my wife became pregnant. Next came 9 full months of her being sick-Imagine morning sickness stretched out for the full duration of the pregnancy. It was really hard on her, but she was a trooper. We were still very close at this point and we were ecstatic that we were going to be parents. An early morning in April, we welcomed a beautiful baby boy. Then things get interesting.

My wife is not the only one to have struggled with the stress that was associated with our pregnancy. About half a week after bringing our son home, I found myself spiraling out of control. I was flooding my head with self doubt, and basically convinced myself that I was chemically ill and was going to be a horrible father-despite everything in my past leaning the against this belief. It was, by far, the worst experience of my life. Through guidance from friends, I sought out counseling for my issues. 8 months later I came out a better man. I was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder. I also feel that it was male postpartum, but that was never referred to in my charts. Anyway...it really sucked, and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

At the very same time, almost like a light switch had flipped, my wife turned into an absolute nightmare. I'd walk into the room to try and assist with our child and she would flip out and tell me to get the H out of the room. She wouldn't allow my family to spend time with our newborn son, despite the fact that they live 40 minutes away. If they did get to see him, she was always very difficult to be around and would take our son into another room and hide away for 45 minutes. I only got to bottle feed my son one time during the 12 months that she nursed him. I told her many times that it was important to me, but she would always refuse and say that it was "stupid" to pump milk to serve in a bottle. Basically everything that I do, or try with my son is "wrong". He's been alive for 19 months now, and I don't even feel like I get to be his dad. She is so guarded and protective of him. Sadly, this will probably be the only child that we'll get to have. Still, I know how incredibly blessed I am to have him. I can also see my wife's ED bleeding into my sons diet, as she refuses to let him eat any "junk". The majority of this "junk" just so happens to be what 80% of parents feed their children. She is in a constant state of high stress and is constantly run down and tired. She doesn't sleep. Has 0 libido-I think we've had sex less than 10 times in 19 months. Not once have I felt like she even wanted to do it. We're always fighting and I haven't felt loved in quiet some time. Each day I pray for patience and forgiveness. I know that the person abusing her body and her husband is not the kind, loving person I married. She is completely out of control, still it kills to be treated this way.

Other factors:

She works full time from home and watches our kid at the same time. Stack that on top of not eating, not sleeping, and being depressed. Needless to say, when I get home, I know what I'm in for. She hates our house, her job, my family, and just about everything else in her life. She has become the most irrational person I've ever met in my life. I point all these things out and she has some BS response to everything I say.

What I've been doing:

Following my counseling I decided that I was going to dedicate all of my attention to my wife and to try and help her the best I could. Once a month I go to a friends and family support group, specializing in ED. Once a month I have a meeting with an eating disorder psychologist . Lots of research online and on NEDA. Worked with her family doctor for months. Read multiple books on the subject. Have been fortunate to have many friends that have stepped up to show support for me and us. I am truly blessed to have the support network that I have. My wife has finally, after 16 months of pleading, agreed to go to family counseling. The counselor that we will be going to has "some" experience in ED, but no certification. It's a small baby step, but the ultimate is getting her to a specialty clinic.

Up until the last month she has denied that she has an issue. She constantly says that the issue is with "us". Yes, we definitely have issues, but many of them stem from her ED and how that makes her feel and treat others. Now her new stance is that she isn't denying that there is something wrong, she just wont go get help for it. That would be another small baby step that she has taken. She's at least contemplating that something is wrong. She just doesn't know what to do about it-DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE'VE LAID OUT A MASSIVE ROAD MAP ON HOW TO MOVE FORWARD!

I've been feeling pretty burnt out lately and am mostly looking for a little more support. Thanks in advance for anyone willing to reply. Wish I would have fond this chat forum sooner.

surikaye
KAN123

Hi KAN123,

I am really sorry to learn about your wife's struggle with ed and its profound impact on your life. The situation you describe sounds extremely challenging, frustrating, and disheartening, to say the least. It seems like you really invested a huge amount of effort into getting the right help- I truly hope that you experience some relief with your current attempt at family therapy. (By the way, sometimes it takes a few tries to find the right counselor, in case you feel like it is not working out.)

Below are some links that you may find comforting or supportive to you at this time.

https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/family-and-friends
https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/parent-family-friends-network

I wish you loads of luck on this journey and encourage you to stay connected!