Topic Tuesday: Recovery

Katie G Picture“A Child’s Love” (By: Katie Goenner)

What do I treasure hearing most from my boys these days? Surprisingly, it’s not the ‘I love you’s’ or the ‘you’re so beautifuls’. It is the days, like tonight, when we’re cuddling on the couch and Keagan tells me, “Mom, I love your chubby arms”, Liam follows with, “Mom, we love your chubby, chubby belly” and Rowan ends in his sing-song voice, “Mommy, don’t get too skinny again because then you can’t put your arms around us like a mama bird taking care of her babies”.

3 statements from 3 little boys that probably shouldn’t be paying as much attention to my body size as they have been subjected to over the past couple years at their young, impressionable ages. A year ago I would have sobbed endlessly with self-disgust had anyone suggested I gained a pound. Despite my husband’s protests that the kids were noticing I was sick, I was convinced my eating disorder wasn’t hurting my children. What kids noticed weight loss? Every day I made sure to smile when I was with them, ask them about their school day, and carried on in ‘perfect mom mode’ as if nothing was amiss. Seriously, how could two 8 year old’s and a 6 year old, boys for that matter, be that observant when they couldn’t even remember to brush their teeth at bedtime? I know now that I was so wrong.

The questions in my mind should have been, what young children, particularly boys. are that focused on their mom’s body size as much as mine were? What little boys read calorie and fat content proudly to their mother at breakfast to ‘impress’ her with their knowledge of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods? My eating disorder was slowly stealing more than I imagined. Unfortunately, it had many years of practice in clouding my judgment and filling my heart with anger, sadness and a strong dose of denial.

A year later, I can happily say I’m fully weight restored and in recovery from anorexia. After 12 months of weekly therapist appointments, weekly support group meetings and 6 months of nutritionist appointments, I have found my way back to life. Endless positive support from my parents, trusted work friends and most importantly love and patience from my husband, I am able to see that I was hurting more than my body. I’m okay with saying I’m back in ‘full chubby arms’ mode, according to my children, which I’ve come to learn shouldn’t be taken as a flaw. As a child, I can still clearly remember resting on my mom’s arms or chest and feeling that sense of 100% protection and love. Giving my boys arms to lean on or a tummy to snuggle against during family movie night is what they’re wishing for, not wishing away.

Every day is a new day and a new opportunity to begin again.