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partner has stopped eating

(13 Posts)
DesparateDad Wed 24-Apr-13 08:43:41

since having our baby just three weeks ago, my partner has hardly ate anything. She was about a size 8-10 before pregnancy and had some issues regarding food but that was in the 90s.
She scoffed during pregnancy, I cook so I knew she was eating well.
I love her and try and reassure her her bump will go, after a short while and she is fit enough to start exercising( about 3 weeks now) but she has decided that she can go the whole day with a piece of toast, and soon she wont look so hideous and repulsive, which she is not, she says she is ten stone so she can afford to miss a meal here and there. I am not so sure. I do not want her to get into a spiral. I am worried but my concerns make no difference and make things worse. She says as soon as she has lost a stone she will start eating properly again. Of course i know she needs her energy for the baby as i am back at work the first week of may, her sleeping is all over the place as well, but her relationship with our baby is great. Any help would great

undercoversahm Wed 24-Apr-13 08:48:21

You are so very right to be worried. You are a very loving and caring husband by the sound of it. It will be difficult to help your DW (sorry) but you must ensure she gets some help somewhere. Is she bf? If so, she definitely needs to eat. It took 9 months for her body to become heavily pg so it makes sense if it takes 9 months to get her pre pg body back again. As you know (and she doesn't) there is no rush.

Can you talk to her GP and/or HV? If this goes on any longer, she could get very ill indeed. Well done for taking the first step and posting on here but really you need professional help in real life and not advice from a bunch of internet strangers.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 08:54:10

I know quite a lot about eating disorders, unfortunately. If your partner has had EDs in the past then even a short period of meal-skipping or extreme dieting can be highly dangerous because a serious reduction in nutrition and energy can very easily trigger a relapse. EDs are a mental illness but are (ironically) alleviated by good nutrition and made far worse by poor nutrition. A slice of toast all day (if that is literally what she's eating) is obviously starvation rations rather than missing a meal here or there.

You can't make someone with an ED eat properly and you can't convince someone with a poor body-image that they are not 'hideous and repulsive'. It's very worrying for you, I know. What I would suggest you do is monitor the situation and take some time off work to be there next time the HV calls around. Explain your concerns.

DesparateDad Tue 07-May-13 13:31:36

Good news she is eating much better now, at least one good meal a day, creal in the morning and healthy snacks.
She is still troubled bty hwer weight but hopefully I am reassuring her, but things still not right, she feels that she is inadequate when she cant stop baby crying, and said that she thinks this is the biggest mistake she has ever made. This is only rarely because mostly she is over the moon with baby, but lack of sleeping hours is really affecting her. I try and do as much as I can but ultimately have to work, i do washing before i go, walk dog, make up bottles of feed, cook meals when I get home and do groceries. Somene tell me these feelings will pass! she was on anti depressants for years, but reduced it to 10mg but is not on any now.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 07-May-13 13:44:32

Did she come off the anti-d's by herself DesperateDad or did she first consult her GP?

You're obviously a rock when you're home which is great, does she have any other support, is her family close by, does she get out and see friends?

When new mums say things like, "This is the biggest mistake I have ever made", whether or not there is any history of depression, I think it is safest to monitor this and mention it to an HV or doctor. It does not mean she is unfit to care for your baby but she may need extra help. Of course broken nights' sleep affect anybody, and a newborn takes up a lot of time and is a huge responsibility, but it's not always highlighted, and if she thinks she is failing your baby, because 'everyone else' copes, your DP may be struggling.

DesparateDad Tue 07-May-13 13:57:08

Came off A/Depressants with GP's knowledge, she has no family here, in fact both her parents are gone. We have some really close friends but she has said she does not want to talk, nor talk to GP or HV as she does not think they understand.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 07-May-13 14:04:27

"she feels that she is inadequate when she cant stop baby crying, and said that she thinks this is the biggest mistake she has ever made. This is only rarely because mostly she is over the moon with baby, but lack of sleeping hours is really affecting her."

I think a lot of new mums get exactly the same feelings for exactly the same reasons. There's a certain pressure to do everything 'right' (whatever right is) - often self-imposed - and it's horrendous when your baby won't settle. That little high-pitched new-born cry is designed to create anxiety. The sleep deprivation is a total killer. They use it as a form of torture don't they? Even tiny problems become massive when you can't think straight. And I think we all wonder if we're the only one struggling this much.... hence why MN is such a great resource.

You sound like you're being very supportive. Please keep telling her she's doing a great job and that you're very proud of her. The HV will be keeping an eye - it's what they do - and will probably reassure her as well.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 07-May-13 14:08:38

I wonder if maybe there is a playgroup or children's centre near at hand? Your DP may not be 'religious' but there's often a Mother and Baby group at a church. She may feel she has nothing in common with other new mums but it can help enormously feeling someone understands. Can she go out with the baby, I found staying indoors did my head in.

Is she planning on going back to work? Not everyone adjusts well to being at home with a baby. Trying not to sound alarmist but even a longed for firstborn can suddenly make its mother feel quite isolated and judged by outsiders.

OxfordBags Tue 07-May-13 14:10:18

OP, I strongly suspect she has PND, which is manifesting itself in her old eating disorder ways. Do not be so quick to dismiss her saying things like having your child is the biggest mistake she's ever made. Of course she loves her, and is a good mum, but she sounds very overwhelmed and conflicted. It is clear that her ED has returned - it doesn't matter that the last time she was noticably ill was in the 90s, it is something you live in recovery with, like Alcoholism, etc. You don't ever get rid of it totally.

And babies CRY. She is not inadequate because her baby cries. Although, if she is not eating enough, she will be weak, emotional, exhausted, foggy-headed and moody, and this will affect how well she mothers her baby,mand how well she copes. If she is punishing herself through not eating, he will be punishing your DD more, because she is not getting all of her mother, she is getting an ill and emotional mother who is fixating on something outside of the baby, when all or most of her attention should be on your child right now.

On a practical note, is she breastfeeding? Because if she is, and she is starving herself (let's call a spade a spade: this is not 'skipping meals', this is starving herself), then it will be seriously affecting the flow, quantity and quality of her breastmilk, which will be bad for your DD.

OxfordBags Tue 07-May-13 14:11:34

Sorry, for some reason I have presumed you have a baby daughter. Forgive me if I'm wrong!

DesparateDad Tue 07-May-13 14:17:46

Its a boy, but thanks for all the positive comments. There is a play group which is local to us, and she is getting out and walking about. Sorry being very male about this and wanting to fix things- instantly

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 07-May-13 14:24:01

Natural to want your partner to be happy asap, don't apologise, she may not have an answer for you if you ask what you can do to make things better. Try not to feel disheartened if she herself can't explain how she feels or what would improve things.

Forgot to say earlier if she does see her GP at some point, she could ask to be referred for counselling, the main thing is she shouldn't feel she has to bottle things up.

OxfordBags Tue 07-May-13 14:34:19

Don't apologise, you love her, you naturally want her to feel good about herself and be happy. But this does sound a bit more complex than going to groups, etc. (which aren't solving things, clearly, if she is still starving herself). She really does need to speak to a GP. Please do not trivialise how very dangerous it is for her - and your son, as health problems from starving herself could affect him (what if she went faint from hunger and dropped him, for example?) - in your understanable need for her to get better soon.

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