It is a fact that far more women struggle with eating disorders than men. Many of these women will eventually have to face the struggles of their eating disorder along with pregnancy and motherhood.
How do you fight your eating disorder during pregnancy?
How do you talk to your children about your eating disorder?
Marie Notcheva has answered both of the above questions on her blog, Redeemed from the Pit. There she has talked openly about her past struggles with an eating disorder, and how God has delivered her. As you read, you will find that she is passionate about helping others find grace and healing through the Lord.
She has been transparent enough to even discuss how her struggle affected her pregnancies, and she hopes to help others who find themselves struggling in this area.
She has shared thoughts that you may be having while facing pregnancy. And she describes some medical consequences of eating disorders during pregnancy. I believe her blog is an excellent resource.
You can find a couple of excerpts below from her post “My Eating Disorder Journey During Pregnancy.”
“For a young woman with body image issues, the prospect of carrying a baby and watching her body grow and change (in ways she cannot control) is frightening. In addition to the physical aspect, pregnancy is a bit of an enigma to young women: in high school and college, the unmarried but sexually active fear it. There is shame and stigma attached, which partially accounts for the high abortion rate. Once married, pregnancy is desired and greatly anticipated – the joyful promise of a new baby awaits. Where, exactly, does the woman suffering with an eating disorder fall into this spectrum?”
That is a complicated question, as many of us who have been through this experience can attest. The life-dominating obsession of anorexia or bulimia is an intensely lonely experience, and many women with eating disorders truly want to become nurturing mothers to a little one who loves them unconditionally. Having an eating disorder during pregnancy is not a matter of selfishness; of putting one’s vanity or pride before the child’s needs. The pregnant woman struggling with anorexia (or, more commonly, bulimia), needs compassion more than ever in order to reach out for the help she needs.”
“Overcoming an eating disorder is never easy, and because the mindset and behavior pattern is so difficult to break the motivation to “just do it for the baby” is simply not enough. Moreover, such statements (however well-intentioned) may add to the guilt a pregnant woman with an eating disorder already feels. She needs to feel safe enough to confess the bulimia (or other eating disorder) to her doula or trusted medical professional, in order to get nutritional and spiritual help. Pregnancy can be an added incentive to a woman’s recovery, but transformation is never automatic. If you are pregnant and suffer from an eating disorder, there is hope. Do not be afraid to tell someone you trust, and allow others to help and support you!”
We are honored that Marie will soon be sharing her personal testimony during our upcoming series, which begins on June 1st, so please be sure to follow along.
Get to know Marie a little better.
Marie Notcheva (B.A., Print Journalism, Syracuse University) is a writer and biblical counselor from Massachusetts who specializes in eating disorders. She is a graduate of Jay Adams’ Institute for Nouthetic Studies, and counsels at her home church, Heritage Bible Chapel, in Princeton, MA. She and her husband Ivaylo are the parents of four children. Following a 17-year battle with anorexia and bulimia, Marie began studying biblical counseling and realized the principles she had learned during her own recovery could be used to help others. “Redeemed from the Pit: Biblical Repentance and Restoration from the Bondage of Eating Disorders” was the project that came out of that mission. Marie is passionate about pointing other women to Jesus Christ, the Healer of their souls.