Awhile back, at least 6 months ago, I was rocking my 3-year-old as he laid his head on my chest. Each subtle rock pushed his head gently into my sternum and with each rock I winced in pain.
A similar pain happens to my spine, hip bones, and the bony parts of my knees when I don’t have enough fat on my body.
That signal of pain used to be a gold star for Anorexia. It meant I was getting thinner and I didn’t wince, I smiled inside as pride spread through my body. It was motivation to keep starving. Keep running myself into the ground. Keep avoiding and missing out on life.
Sometime this winter I took these thoughts to my dietitian. She mentioned something about my body needing more fat deposits. I agreed while Anorexia screamed so loud in my head I could barely nod to let her know I heard her. I went home though and intentionally added more fat back into my diet.
None of the bony prominences on my body hurt now, after 6 months of eating much more balanced meals. My three year old laid his head on my chest today and fell asleep for an hour there. Some thankful tears escaped as I thought about how it didn’t hurt. Moms are supposed to be soft places to land. Anorexia hardens you and steals some of the sweetest parts of life. I felt grateful for a body that protects and hugs and can physically show love without hurting, even if that means there is a layer of fat that didn’t exist before.
I am really struggling with body image. I have no idea what I weigh and there are moments every day where I become overwhelmed with disgust at the shape of my body. I keep reminding myself that my size and shape and weight means nothing of value to me. It does not determine my worth. It does not cause people to love me or not. I don’t want to care about it.
It’s just what’s left for Anorexia to hang onto. Anorexia wants to make it hard for me to be held and to hold others. Because then I know I’m loved. When it’s not painful, it’s easier to heal. It’s easier to focus on receiving love instead of physical pain. It’s easier to experience every single emotion—and I would rather keep these fat deposits than lose the things that make life worth living.
Fuck off, Anorexia. My babies deserve soft hugs, just like little-me needed. I deserve to not be in pain anymore and I’m going to continue to push through every thing Anorexia has left to throw my way because my entire family system deserves more than the exhausted, hurting bones it was offering.