My Second Pregnancy Journey: Pregnancy After Weight Loss, Eating Disorder Recovery, and Finding Intuitive Eating

Ok, ok, I won’t put it off any longer: yes, readers, I am officially pregnant (actually, 18 weeks pregnant) with baby #2 — Michael! Due June 20, 2020!

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As with my last pregnancy, I really want to document this journey, because there are so few illustrations of how a body might change during (and after) pregnancy after major weight loss and, this time, after eating disorder recovery and finding intuitive eating.

Let’s start with a rundown of what my last pregnancy looked like and what’s very VERY different this time around!

My Pregnancy (in numbers) with Emma!

  • Starting weight: 123 pounds (which I was unhealthily maintaining eating 1,000 calories a day. Do not recommend.)
  • My age: 28; 29 at delivery
  • Exercise pre-pregnancy: None
  • Exercise during pregnancy: None
  • Caloric intake during pregnancy: 1,500 1st trimester; 1,700 2nd trimester; 2,000 3rd trimester
  • Weight at delivery: 157 pounds
  • Total gain: 34 pounds
  • Emma’s weight: 7 pounds
  • My weight post-delivery: 147-150 pounds

My Pregnancy (in numbers) with Michael! (So Far)

  • Starting weight: 140 pounds (which I was maintaining eating 2,300-2,500 calories a day – estimated – intuitive eating!)
  • My age: 32; 33 at delivery
  • Exercise pre-pregnancy: Lifting 3x a week; cardio 3x a week
  • Exercise during pregnancy: Lifting 3x a week; cardio 2x a week (intensity is also diminished)
  • Caloric intake during pregnancy: Not sure as I am doing intuitive eating. 2,300 – 2,500 calories most days still, I imagine, based on the couple of days I have tracked out of curiosity (and anxiety).

And here’s where I’m at right now:

  • Week: 18
  • Current weight: roughly 148-149
  • Total gain so far: 8-9 pounds

I haven’t taken my 18-week picture yet (tomorrow!), but here’s my …er… “growth” so far lol.

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And, of course, here is a comparison 🙂

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And, for fun, here’s a sneak peak at what I look like now (but not scientific ‘cus not at the same time of day or in the same clothes — science is important! Ha!):

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Mental Struggles

As you may recall, I struggled hardcore with antenatal mental health as well as post-partum depression, anxiety, and OCD that eventually led to me being hospitalized when Emma was 7 weeks old. Moreover, with Emma, I was still in an active eating disorder when I got pregnant.

I’ve been in pretty intense therapy for years now, but I’ve also improved to the point of being able to be off of psychiatric medication for a year. I’ve also been in genuine eating disorder recovery for only a year, and I admit that the body image part of this is HARD for me. Somewhere in my head (before recovery), I had it in my plans to get my weight way back down again before getting pregnant again because I was SO AFRAID of how a second pregnancy would impact my body and weight. But, then I found lifting…and running…and recovery… and, well, here we are.

This pregnancy has been different — I’ve been far more sick, I’ve been far more tired, but I’ve also been far more active, and I’m not having to go through psych medication withdrawal. My anxiety is still very present, but I do feel overall more emotionally stable this time compared to last time.

My brain and body have also not totally caught up with one another: my brain currently refuses to accept that I am pregnant when it comes to my weight & what I’m seeing in the mirror.

Impacts to and of Intuitive Eating

Pregnancy (and post-partum) are going to probably be the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced when it comes to committing to intuitive eating. I’ve been doing intuitive eating for a year now, and if I’m being honest – I don’t know that I can commit to NOT tracking/trying to intentionally lose weight after this baby is born. I already am feeling the pull.

I’m trying to eat intuitively right now, but my appetite is alarming to me at times: I wake up hungry multiple times throughout the night, every night. In 1st trimester, I would eat even in the middle of the night; now, I don’t. I also try very hard to focus on eating mostly “whole foods.” This is mostly because I’ve found these foods appealing and they physically make me feel the best; but, admittedly, it’s also partly a weight gain/fear food thing.

I’m not tracking calories (except for portions of a couple of days to get just a ballpark of where I’m at); I religiously tracked in my last pregnancy. And, I just put my scale in timeout too.

I’m honestly not sure what I’m doing — I’m overwhelmed by my hunger levels and fear of gaining too much. My midwives have mostly been supportive (they know I am in ED recovery), but they’ve still mentioned ballpark target weight numbers, which has been difficult for me. I’m very much looking forward to meeting with my ED recovery/intuitive eating dietitian next week for some reassurance and guidance.

So, there you go – that’s where I’m at right now.

I’d like to keep documenting this pregnancy and postpartum just like last time. Hopefully, some of you will find it helpful (or at least interesting)!

13 thoughts on “My Second Pregnancy Journey: Pregnancy After Weight Loss, Eating Disorder Recovery, and Finding Intuitive Eating

  1. So much respect for your level of personal awareness and ability to share so authentically – I followed each piece of this blog with awe and a “yes, sister, me too, go get it” experience of cheering you on!

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey and being so transparent. I haven’t ever been pregnant, but as someone who is in their 3rd year of recovery, I’ve always wondered what that would be like. I just want to affirm you and say that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed or confused. You’re dealing with a lot and intuitive eating (while discarding old behaviors and thought patterns) is no where near easy! It takes time. Be patient with yourself and most of all, have grace for yourself. Happy pregnancy!!

  3. You look so healthy!
    I’ve been in recover from ED for the past 6 years. I was a severe restricter, as it sound you were. I am Also sober as booze is another way to control anxiety…don’t go down that path. It’s not nice.

    I’m still on meds. I plan to always be. I also cannot count calories. I become obsessive and fixated and vaguely insane very fast. I’m an average weight, at 48.

    Why even weigh yourself? I can’t, even now….and pregnant it’s so hard. Could you eat when you are hungry and accept you might gain more temporarily…without considering the scale?

    What’s your doctors thoughts on starting meds after delivery? Post partum depression is so difficult. And two kids is a big change! Plan to have help. You don’t have to do everything yourself! I would be proactive…once it starts it’s so hard to think rationally!

    Thank you for sharing your experience. A baby boy is so exciting. Your cute daughter will have a friend!

    Anne

    • Congratulations on your recovery & sobriety! Weighing myself is one of my biggest hangups that I can’t seem to let go of. I had gotten it down to where I wasn’t doing it as frequently, but knowing that I’m gaining weight really ramped it back up. That and my midwives mentioned goal numbers, which made me pretty obsessive. I’m going to be meeting with a postpartum-specialized NP to plan for meds after birth. I’m sure I”ll write an update about that once I go!

  4. I’m so happy for you! I’m also glad you have reached out with an update. 😌 I was starting to wonder how you’ve been. Hoping everything is going well! You look good and I’m not just saying that.

  5. Congratulations! You’ve got this! Trust your intuition, and rather than fear hunger or eating, marvel at the fact that your body is temporarily being rented out by a tiny human. I can’t wait to see the little guy.

    • Thank you! 🙂 It’s just hard to trust that I’m “supposed to” eat when I’m hungry when I am not hungry so frequently. That’s what I’m hoping my dietitian can help clarify for me. For now, I pretty much eat when I’m hungry except overnight, because I’d rather be sleeping lol

  6. I find your posts fascinating and so interesting
    I have a daughter in ED recovery and I myself am an obsessive tracker of my food. I have no off switch unless I’m tracking and think you are extremely brave and inspiring
    I look forward to your posts and insights

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