Bulimia and Baby- God Forgives But Can I Forgive Myself ?

Bulimia and Baby- God Forgives But Can I Forgive Myself ?

I have been speaking to this lovely person in the States for over 15 months now. She has given me the permission to share her story with our readers. It is a very painful story. In fact I still am struggling to come to terms with her story. Please no bad comments!

Bulimia and Baby

My story is not unusual, you may have heard thousands of these stories before, someone wanting to lose weight falls into trap of bulimia.

My father is  a genius,  He went to Pakistan’s top university Aga Khan Medical university and became a surgeon on a full scholarship. He married my mother from a very affluent background.  

You can imagine my childhood, servants, luxury schools, holidays in LA. I was born in a lap of luxury.

It was year 2003. Two years  after 9/11. Pakistan was changing. I was changing. So when my proposal came, I jumped for it. I wanted to move to States where Sweet Valley High, Dawson’s Creaks, OC, One tree Hill and all the glamor lived. I married my uncle’s son who is 13 years older then me.

Bulimia in California

It was in California, Silicon Valley when Bulimia came knocking on my door. My husband is a doctor, his sister is a doctor and his youngest brother is an orthodontist. My father in law is a neuro surgeon and my Mother in Law runs her own beauty/spa clinic. I was 18, and first thing I did when I arrived in America was transform myself into a figure from my favorite day time sitcom. I was obsessed with Days of Our lives and all their teen characters. I brought a new wardrobe, and now looking back, I remember wanting to fit in, wanting to embrace the life that LA offers to all its onlookers. It is all about appearances and I am fortunate to have beautiful looks. The only problem was that moving to States disturbed my metabolic rate, and I started gaining weight at a record speed. This is the time when obsession with thinness and being thin had completely overtaken American society. In drive to be thin people used anything and everything.

To stop the weight, I started dieting. My husband had issued several credit cards on my name, so money was no obstacle. One weight loss plan led to another, one diet pills bottle led to another bottle. I lost weight and managed to retain my figure, but inside I was miserable. I just wanted to eat and eat and eat. I missed Pakistani food, Chinese food and mostly Italian food. It was my neighbor, a beautiful exotic Indian girl, who first introduced me to purging. We used to exercise together and would compare notes on dieting.  One thing that really used to trouble me about her was that she would eat huge amounts of food without gaining any weight. In 2004 just before Christmas, she shared her bulimic secrets with me. In December 2004, I became a purging bulimic. In 2005, I was eating and eating and eating non-stop. I started off with vomiting once a day and detoxing my self once a week. In mid-2005 I was purging 2 times a day and by the end of 2005, it was 3-4 times a day. By 2006, I was a mass of nervous energy. All I could do was binge and purge multiple times a day. In mid 2006, It was 7-8 times a day. There were just not enough hours in the day to binge, purge, binge purge.

Bulimia and the first nightmare- My First Pregnancy

Attempting to hide the bulimia became another mission. My husband wanted children and by 2006, the pressure increased. In 2007, January I became pregnant. I had my first miscarriage at 10 weeks of my pregnancy. No I never want to know the reason. Post-miscarriage left me with very painful, prolonged binges, which happened every day. I vomited throughout the day and started taking up to 30 laxatives a day.

In 2008, whispers about me and my weird behaviors increased. I was either busy beautifying myself, taking care of my hair, nails, skin or jumping on treadmill to lose weight. I was also cooking and running out to Santa Clara or every Trader Joe’s in the area to buy food and stock and re-stock on groceries. On average I spent $200 to $300 a week on food and up to $500 a month on weight loss teas, pills and treatments.

I had a very polished exterior. From outside I was a perfect model wife, thin, beautiful and well groomed. Inside I was a mess. In 2009, I tried once again for a baby, by that time, signs of bulimia were more visible. My hair was thinning and my nails had become brittle, my perfect smile was no longer perfect and I was exhausted. I started buying more and more of beauty supplements, hair care vitamins and oils to hide my bulimia. My Indian friend, my once a week binging partner had moved to Marin County and we lost touch. So it was just me and my bulimia. The family existed, but I was not interested in any of them. I put up appearances by attending evening soirees, doctor conferences and  helping my mother in law with running of her spa.

I think my Mother in Law knew all along, because she was also obsessed with dieting, sauna, sweating. My husband knew but chose to ignore it.

Nightmare Continues My Second Pregnancy

In 2009, June, I became pregnant again and the vicious cycle of binging and purging started once again. The first trimester was horrible. I was petrified of doctors and my husband.  They told me to stop dieting. I stopped diet pills, but carried on with purging, only three times a day. In the third trimester, binging and purging stopped. I was overly exhausted and I was put on a bed rest. I developed hypertension, oh and type 1 diabetes.In February 2010, I gave premature birth to a tiny girl, a stillbirth. little baby girl.

No…. Stop! I don’t want to know what caused her death. I simply curled up on hospital bed and stopped communicating.

Bulimic in Karachi

In February 2010, I boarded a plane to Pakistan. My father came to pick me up. I went back to my roots. My in-laws told me to pull my self together. I fought with my parents. Everyone and every X Y Z model in Karachi was thin, stick thin and I felt fat . I saw a psychiatrist in Clifton and with a well-balanced plan that guaranteed my weight-loss, I stopped purging.  In October 2010, I was back in States. In December 2010, Bulimia was back, I could not get enough of Italian food and American fries and cakes. In 2011, I tried my first attempt at suicide.  In 2012, my depression was worst and my dieting was out of control. I still looked perfect though.

Miracles Do Happen- But Bulimia is still there!

what happens when the family of doctors fail to cure you of your disorder? You take Increased doses of prozac, but nothing works. There is no choice left but you in desperation and utter panic turn to higher power.

I broke down, simply broke down in front of an Imam at a mosque. At home, I didn’t know where Qibla was and which direction to pray. We are not practicing Muslims. We do however throw elaborate Eid and Iftar parties. I took a baby step and learnt once again how to pray, how to read Quran again and in 2012 I became pregnant again.

My mother came to stay with me.  She and Imam’s wife both helped and monitored me and bulimia was out. I cruised through the three trimester of pregnancy, because of an excellent nutritional eating plan, excellent nutritionist, private prenatal visitor. Imam’s wife  prayed for me every day and read Surah Mariam to me.  I only purged three times during my pregnancy.  I had a Christmas baby, perfect weight. A son.

My Baby a Miracle

My Baby a Miracle

He is a blessing, a miracle. I made sure he was examined three times before I felt satisfied that my years of bulimia had not damaged him in any way.

Life as a Mother

Am I recovered? No! I still binge and purge, two-three times a day, depending on my emotions. My son, well he is my mother in law’s new project. I developed postpartum depression. The reality of excel weight that I had gained during pregnancy became a stark reality. I stepped away from my duties as a mother, I just could not feed him.  I am now a bulimic with Type 1 diabetes and Its painful but for my disorder diabetes is a blessing. When I get tired of purging, I curl up next to my baby and go to sleep. Not easy being a bulimic and a mother.

What a mess. What a mess.

I just had my teeth, some of them recapped. I just paid $350 for hair extensions. Another $250 for skin treatment. I am back to perfect.

I sometimes go and see the Imam, who looks at me with empathy and His wife often takes me back to their place, where we pray together and often exhausted by bulimia, I curl up and go to sleep. He is going to be one on 25th December 2013. My first gift to my son, I’m checking into a rehab. I am at a stage where I am abusing my insulin. Oh I also suffered a mini stroke while my son was only 7 months old. He was in the car, when I just collapsed, they call it transient ischemic attack, or TIA, when blood temporarily stops reaching the brain, causing stroke-like symptoms for one to 24 hours. I was lucky that it happened in my mother in law’s garage. Oh there will be tears and pain and suffering and going through past to heal old wounds. I am so tired that I don’t know what old wounds they are talking about.

They say God Forgives, but I can’t forgive or forget. Bulimia is an illness but why do I feel its a sinful illness, full of sinful acts? I have neglected God for so-long, in my pursuit of a life full of glamor and luxury.Imam tells me God forgives, but every time I read these verses, I break down. How can he still love and be merciful to people like me? But then as someone said to me, He is Raheem, so-great, so Ghafoor, so full of mercy, that even despairing of his mercy is a sinful thought in itself.

Last

My Advice to you, If your pregnant and suffering from Bulimia, then Please just get help. Do it for your baby. I had a normal weight gain throughout my  pregnancy, that’s why my son was born healthy. Don’t make the same mistake as me. Just Stop your Eating Disorder now.

The following complications are associated with eating disorders during pregnancy:

  • Premature labor
  • Low birth weight
  • Stillbirth or fetal death
  • Increased risk of cesarean birth
  • Delayed fetal growth
  • Respiratory problems
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Complications during labor
  • Depression
  • Miscarriage
  • Preeclampsia

Source: NEDA

Here are some suggested guidelines by NEDA for women with eating disorders who are trying to conceive or have discovered that they are pregnant:

  • Prior to Pregnancy:
    • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
    • Avoid purging.
    • Consult your health care provider fora pre-conception appointment.
    • Meet with a nutritionist and start a healthy pregnancy diet, which may include prenatal vitamins.
    • Seek counseling to address your eating disorder and any underlying concerns; seek both individual and group therapy.

     

  • During Pregnancy:
  • Schedule a prenatal visit early in your pregnancy and inform your health care provider that you have been struggling with an eating disorder.
  • Strive for healthy weight gain.
  • Eat well-balanced meals with all the appropriate nutrients.
  • Find a nutritionist who can help you with healthy and appropriate eating.
  • Avoid purging.
  • Seek counseling to address your eating disorder and any underlying concerns; seek both individual and group therapy.
  • After Pregnancy:
    • Continue counseling to improve physical and mental health.
    • Inform your safe network (health care provider, spouse, and friends) of your eating disorder and the increased risk of postpartum depression; ask them to be available after the birth.
    • Contact a lactation consultant to help with early breastfeeding.
    • Find a nutritionist who can help work with you to stay healthy,manage your weight, and invest in your baby.

 

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