When food becomes a way to control your environment (Guest Post by Paula Jenkins)

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About three months ago to the day, my family celebrated little Zoom’s first birthday. It was a lovely event. Family and friends came over for an elephant themed party. I owe you guys some photos of that party.

There is likely a reason I’ve haven’t posted those photos. When I went back and looked at myself I was shocked.

At the time, I no longer fit into my clothes. In fact, I had gotten so heavy that I did not own a single pair of pants that fit me, and I’d moved on to wearing dresses because it was all that fit.

Now I see that I’d been eating because I was still upset and confused about the traumatic events that surrounded Zoom’s birth. There was so little I could control over those 56 hours. I’d gone in to labor naturally, and then labored for 56 hours. The doctor quickly decided at about hour 54 that I would need a cesarean. When Zoom was born, he had respiratory issues and was in the hospital for six days. He did not come home with us. None of this was in a birth plan, anywhere, except in the back of my mind as the things that just couldn’t happen, ever.

Every pregnant lady probably has one of those “in case” discussions with her partner, husband, coach. I’d told Sean one night “If for any reason they have to take the baby away from me in the delivery room, you follow the baby. I’m strong, I can be alone, I won’t be as scared as the baby. You go with our baby and talk to him. He knows your voice and knows you will keep him safe.” I get tears in my eyes now knowing that something I said as a “not a chance in the world this will happen” discussion is what ended up happening. Just before I went in to the operating room, I told my doctor that I could only do this if Sean was allowed to leave with the baby and my mom or sister was allowed to come in after he left with Zoom. And that is how it happened. My mom came in and stayed with me as Sean took our baby to the nursery.

A year later, food had become a way to control my environment. And based on the terrifying events of Zoom’s birth, the world had become a scary, unpredictable place. Food was predictable. Feeling full was predictable and comforting. I was holding on to what I could to keep going.

Nearly 12 weeks later, I’ve lost 9.42% of my starting weight, meaning I’ve lost about 13 pounds. It may not seem like a lot based on “Biggest Loser” standards, but a 10% loss is good. It means nearly 2 pant sizes on me. I’m 4’10” tall.

For me, this weight loss has been a great deal more than losing 13 pounds. I’m regaining “Me.” The parts of me that got lost somewhere on September 9, 2010 before Zoom was born, as the cesarean was becoming a reality. The parts of me that battle to re-believe that I am strong, that I am capable, that I am in control. The parts of me that are fierce, unstoppable, and excellent. The woman who excitedly stated to the front desk at Labor and Delivery “I’m here to have a baby,” is re-awakening to all that it means to be alive. She is here, she is brave and she ready to take on the world.

(thank you, Paula, for sharing your heart here today…)

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4 thoughts on “When food becomes a way to control your environment (Guest Post by Paula Jenkins)

  1. Hi. My name is Sarah. I suppose I have had an eating disorder for most of my life. As a 5’3″ woman, my weight has ranged from 175 (most) to 80 (least). I linger around 105. If I have learned anything about all of this it is that I really haven’t learned enough. I am not defined by my weight unless I let other people do that to me. People were not shy about their looks towards me when I was at my heaviest and to my amazement, weighing 80 pounds got me compliments. I know that in my case, my eating disorder is 100% about control. It always has been and always will be. What works best for me is to surround myself with people who love me for me and not for what I look like. It is a daily battle. I am aware, but I am not over it.

  2. Hi Sarah – I know what it’s like to want to control things; I’m definitely a planner and feel most comfortable when I know what’s happening. Actually, I find that what others perceive in me as a need for control is actually a need to understand what’s going on, and not feel surprised. For me, all of the “surprises” around Zoom’s birth situation are definitely what set in motion some difficult things to deal with. As you’ve said, I really do think that things like this are a daily battle. It would be fairly easy for me to get sucked back in to feeling sorry for myself about that series of events. But I’m aware. I keep my head away from that place, knowing that I’m loved and cherished and deserve to treat myself better than that. So kudos to you for keeping in the fight. 🙂 Sending hugs to you!

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