Emma at The Real Supermum shares her struggle with body image for our sixth Love Mum Body post. It's a moving example of the impact that society's body expectations can have on us and our families as we strive to be a 'good mother'. Thank you for your openness and honesty.
I have always been a size 8, I have never weighed more than 7.5 stone and only ever peaked at eight stone when pregnant. I have a super slim and petite frame, the envy of many friends, but it comes at a high price. I have extreme issues with my body image and as a result I self harm by starving my body of food.
I no longer know how it feels to be hungry, although in recovery this is a habit and a coping strategy I have, its difficult to fight. I fight daily to beat this but have never managed to overcome this part of my life.
After six pregnancies I have no stretch marks, amazing right? Yes I am so lucky to have such a great figure after giving birth to six children, but instead of agreeing with that, I am left consumed in guilt. I self starved my body throughout six of my pregnancies, by starving myself, I starved my unborn babies too.
As a Bipolar mum of six I am very paranoid of how others perceive me. My paranoia and low self esteem have manifested into a severe eating disorder that ensures the one thing I can control is my body image and size.
If I look good, then I must be a good mum, I must work hard, I must be a good person.
I have steered down a road to destruction that is hard to get off. I don't want to do this, but I have to. It's the only way I can survive some days.
I only revealed my eating disorder in my sixth pregnancy, I was near exhaustion and was admitted to hospital where I stayed for two weeks, I had to have iron transfusions too. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, explaining to health professionals why my baby was weighing and measuring in so small, my last three babies were all born below 6lbs.
I am so thankful that I gave birth to six healthy babies, but that does not take away the guilt and regret of what I did. I became very good at being deceitful when it came to food, my husband would make me meals and I would scrape it into the bottom of the bin so he could not see it, pretended I had already eaten.
I am not ashamed of who and what I am but I do feel incredibly guilty for what I have done. I can not sit at the dining room table with my family and tuck into a home cooked meal. I retch if food touches my lips some days.
Motherhood plays a huge part in my body image. If others were not so judgemental I perhaps would not feel as if I always had to prove myself in some way. The other mothers always look good, dress good, I just want to fit in, be accepted.
I do not look in the mirror and think I look fat, but if I see any change I will starve myself a few extra days. My eldest daughter knows I have an eating problem and it has been a very long road to get to where I am today. I am literally forcing myself to eat at least two small meals each day.
I do not remember when this coping strategy started but I also know it will never end. My body image is and will only be the one thing in my life that I do have full control over. I just hope I can beat it, before it beats me.
About The Real Supermum:
Blogging To Inspire Others This Bipolar Mum Of 6 Gives An Honest Insight Into Parenting & Real Life. Blogging About Taboo Subjects, Raw, Open & Honest.
About Love Mum-Body
This month on story of mum, we’re sharing photos of how our bodies have changed since we became mums and grandmums. You can photograph your actual body, or you can shape your body in plasticine. We don’t mind how you share it, as long as you do your very best to love it.
For some more inspiration, check out these other blog posts in the series: