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TTC and eating disorder

(13 Posts)
HarlotsWeb Wed 31-Aug-11 20:28:35

In my case, bulimia (laxative abuse). Is anyone else ttc with the added difficulty of disordered eating? Does anyone have any idea of what the impacts might be (both on fertility and <gulp> on a developing baby)?

And yes, I do know it would be better all round not to have an eating disorder. 

legallyblond Wed 31-Aug-11 21:28:37

Hi there

I also had an ed - v similar as it started as bulimia laxative abuse for about 3 years before it sort of turned into anorexia. Ironically, it changed, I think, when I was hospitalised for the bulimia.... I sort of "learnt" anorexia in my time at the unit.

Anyway, I now have a 10.5 month old DD (she is AMAZING!!!!) and am about to TTC number 2.

When I started to TTC my daughter, I was recovering. I had stopped taking laxies, but would still fairly often binge/starve. That said, I really, really wanted a baby so basically force fed myself till I had my periods back (had had them back for 2 years + I think) and had maintained a bmi over 18.5 for a year. Do you mind me asking where you're at with some of that side of recovery? As for the other "side" of recovery, what was in my head, I was better, but in a pretty constant battle.... usually healthy behaviours would win over my thoughts.

I think becasue I was off the laxies, had a good bmi etc, TTC was easy (1st month!) and preg was fine. Honestly, I don't think I would have TTC if I was still physically unwell with the ed. Mentally.... like I said, another story.... BUT, I can honestly say that having DD has made me so, so, so mcuh better. I am different person now. I think its to do with having her to focus on and really and truly putting her first. It is a journey (weaning, for instance, threw up some issues, but I TOTALLY reccommend Baby Led Weaning for ex-ed sufferers), but its not the battle it once was. And 6 or 7 years ago, I didn't believe people when they said they had recovered.....

I told my MW about my ed history. Initally, as a result, they decided I was therefore "high risk" in terms of the preg (just means you're under a consultant) but they eventually downgraded me, which was good. I did however request "blind" weighing at appointments (I couldn't see/wasn't told my weight). This helped and I don't allow scales in our house.

Please do PM me... too much to say really in a post, but I totally understand. x

hillbilliechick Thu 01-Sep-11 00:32:36

I'm another one in the same boat. And find that it's alll a good excuse to hit yourself over the head with a big stick. If I ate more regularly (history of anorexia caused by eating little and exercising lots) , if I exercised less, if I didn't stress so much about eating maybe it would all work, therefore as it's not working it must all be my fault.

The best move forwards I've found is to be completely honest with the people there helping you. You get one of two reactions. The first is appalling and basically that's a sign that you really don't want these 'professionals' helping you. The other is understanding and appropriate support, with the odd sideways loving dig to try and put your effort into getting well in all respects to make it all possible.

I don't know about you both but I've found that the worst thing is that any reading you do about helping you get pregnant always seems to start with stating that the most important thing is a healthy diet. So immediately I want to curl up and die as feel like I'm just not going to get on the remotely possible continuum. Then you see positive sticks (take Beckham for instance) who just seem to be super fertile!

The positive thing I've been told that gives me hope for if I ever do get pregnant is that babies are like paracites and they will take what they need, so they may leave you feeling wasted, but they will not suffer. That's not an excuse, but it is comforting to think that if I do have the odd struggle then it may not be the end of the world.

Frustratingly for me I'm probably the healthiest I've been for about 10 years, the most stable and healthy weight and still my hormones don't want to kick into action. It sucks!

hillbilliechick Thu 01-Sep-11 00:34:52

Oh and while I'm at it, I often feel maybe its not happening for a reason. Maybe God just knows I wouldn't cope with being pregnant that well. Maybe I would struggle, maybe maybe maybe. But do you know what, I'd give my bottom dollar to give it a try - for some reason that still doesn't kick start me into eating completely normally however. hmmmm any advice?

HarlotsWeb Thu 01-Sep-11 08:54:42

Thank you for replying. I'm sorry for the troubles you both have had/are having. Congratulations on your daughter, legallyblond!

It was quite difficult to start the thread in the first place, and now I almost don't know where to go with answering you. 

 I have been ttc for two years, and when I saw my GP a year ago she suggested that weightloss might be advantageous, which sent me slowly but surely onto this spiral. I'm not as bad as I was when I was at university (the last time I did this) but have got it in my head that the most important thing to help me have a baby is to lose weight. 

I'm 25.4 BMI, down from something hideous I can't even bring myself to type, and feel like I can't stop till I get to the normal range. Except I know from past experience that when I do get there I will almost unconsciously set another target and carry on for that. I know just what you mean, hillbilliechick about wanting to eat normally to make yourself hornonally balanced and beautifully fertile, but somehow not being able to. 

Thank you so much for answering, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. 

OracleInaCoracle Thu 01-Sep-11 09:47:53

I am an anorexic and have been ttc dc2 for 6 years with 13 mcs to show for it. I also blame myself for the lack of baby. Other people manage it (my cousin is bulimic and super-fertile) so its obviously my fault. When I conceived ds I was a very low weight though (about 6.5st) my cons won't treat me when I am a low weight though. I also won't have scales in the house and insist on blind weighing. Its hard at times.

legallyblond Thu 01-Sep-11 09:53:45

Hillbilliechick - I know what you mean about getting to a healthy weight but hormones not kicking in. I had exactly the same thing for a long time. After hospitalisation and lots of treatment/therapy, I did get to a healthy weight (although was no-where near healthy mentally) but my periods didn't come back. They only came back after I spent a lot of time with a homeopath that specializes in post-ed treatment. have you tried that or acupuncture? Obv, if you're not at a healthy weight, it won't work, but at the time, my bmi was 20, so I felt that it was more than physical. My homeopath was in London and is fantasitic, so I could pm you if you want.

I was greatly encourgaed because one of my hospital therapy group was a couples group for couples wanting to move on to start a family. out of the 6 of us, 2 of the girls have still not got to a healthy weight. However, of those that have, once they're periods came back, ALL of them have found it easy to conceive. It seems that our bodies, once hormanes kick in, are very, very forgiving....

I have also encountered some negativity about TTC with an ed, despite being in recovery. some people I have opened up to have basically said that, especially as I have had a daughter, I am bound to "pass it on" to her..... I disagree, obviously!

HarlotsWeb Fri 02-Sep-11 06:57:39

Lissie, I changed name for this thread out of shame, but I have posted with you before and had no idea that this was an issue for you.  I know I haven't been ttc as long as you, but I empathise with the feeling that the failure to conceive must be your fault. 

How many people's partners know, by the way? It's all very secret for me, but I guess anorexia is less easy to hide from people. Or am I kidding myself about my skills of deception?

OracleInaCoracle Fri 02-Sep-11 16:23:06

Oh honey, first of all, you have nothing to be ashamed of. That's where the ed's power lies. Its surprisingly easy to hide my behaviour (carrier bags full of food, lots of "accidental" dropping, the best week was when dh was on nights, I didn't eat) but dh knows, because inm so secretive. Have you seen your gp? Or contacted BEAT?

OracleInaCoracle Fri 02-Sep-11 16:23:08

Oh honey, first of all, you have nothing to be ashamed of. That's where the ed's power lies. Its surprisingly easy to hide my behaviour (carrier bags full of food, lots of "accidental" dropping, the best week was when dh was on nights, I didn't eat) but dh knows, because inm so secretive. Have you seen your gp? Or contacted BEAT?

legallyblond Fri 02-Sep-11 19:36:49

Agree - you have nothing to be ashamed of. Would you be ashamed if you had depression? Or a more physical illness? That said... in real life I don't exactly annouce my history! So I really do understand those feelings. As lissie said, its part of the ed's power...

DH knows everything. I had the ed before I met him and had been diagnosed... it would have been too big to keep from him (only told him after we'd been going out about a year though!), although I wasn't hospitalised and had, I thought, fairly successfully hidden it from most people until just after we got married. However, once I was in regular treatment and then hospitalised, all my close friends said they had known about the bulimia all along. As you say, the anorexia was pretty obvious at its worst. Now that I am recovering, only old friends know. No-one at work knows for instance as I don't think its relevant.

legallyblond Fri 02-Sep-11 19:40:52

Sorry, just to add.... I have intimate knowledge of bulima laxative abuse... at my worst, I was probably taking up to 35 laxies a day. Physically I was a wreck and barely able to function (obviously!). However, at the beginning, when I was "just" sh*tting a lot and in pain but still functioning, all my close friends knew, it turns out... if you stay the night with your partner at all, I suspect he knows. Not wishing to be too graphic, but sharing a bathroom makes it fairly obvious actually. Could you raise it with him? Would you consider getting help to recover?

icansympathise Fri 02-Sep-11 21:30:46

I had bulimia for about 17 years. Every day I would starve myself at lunchtime and gorge myself later in the day and make myself sick. About 5 and a half years ago I managed to get myself out of this cycle - it was very hard and there is no doubt that I still have an odd relationship with food. However, it is a lot more normal and I am not constantly thinking about when I will make myself sick. I also have a DS who is 3. Much happier - it is possible to escape this cycle - which I think can be v destructive. Good luck!

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