Motherhood may have saved my life

This past week I had the opportunity to be interviewed by an author who is writing a book on recovery from eating disorders. In my work I’m usually the one doing the interviewing so I was a little nervous, but also very excited. I know I’ve said before that I have come a long way in the past couple of years, but this was a big reminder of that.

Fills the hole inside meOnly three short years ago I was still living a semi-conscious life. I had graduated college in 2007 weighing less than 100 pounds, constantly dizzy, suffering heart palpitations, and feeling hopeless. All of this from something that many people thought I controlled – how much I was eating. How I got to that point is a whole other story. Three years ago I had improved from this low point in my life, but I still had anxiety attacks eating around others, considered a mini tootsie roll a splurge, and didn’t believe that I could do all the things I saw others accomplishing. It was experiences like these that bind all of the people the author was speaking to.

What she was really interested in were the moments that brought each of us out of this abyss and back to life. When she was asking me questions I realized most of my answers were things that I hadn’t thought about in the past year or more. One thing that she asked me really got me thinking hard about the journey I have taken on the road to recovery – when did you realize you truly wanted to recover?

When I was going through the process it was a constant struggle and battle between what I had known for so long, and letting go of that safety net to live life the way I knew it could be lived. I would half-heartedly agree to seek treatment just long enough to get family off my back; then revert to living life full of anxiety and constant counting.

So what did make me truly want to recover? I found out I was pregnant. For once, there was no denying that my choices were directly affecting someone else. My unborn child had no way to make health and food choices for herself. My choice was her choice. That is when my choice changed. That is when I realized the safety net that was actually dragging me down wasn’t going to work anymore. It isn’t an understatement to say becoming a mother saved my life.

I never really thought I wanted to be a mother . . . as the oldest of four siblings I sort of felt I had already had children. However, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. Having Olivia has helped make me the person I always wanted to be. But the most important thing about that is I know I changed myself; I don’t rely on Olivia for all of my strength. I always wanted to be the hopeful, energetic, and life loving person that I feel I am today. Now I can say I am who I am for me. And my family and friends enjoy me much more for being that person. Olivia

I am thankful that Olivia came into our lives and I’m thankful I can be a part of her life in a positive way. We can share treats and meals together. I can teach her about cooking and old family recipes. We can travel the world and taste each place with a smile on our face and nothing but love in our souls.

I hope one day Olivia will understand how important she is to my life and I pray that she never has to face the battle that I went through to get to today. And I hope to one day show her my story as part of a project that encourages others to fight their way to recovery; to show her even when it is tough you can make it through and sharing your story can make a difference.

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Girls’ day out – toddler style

I’ve never been great at relaxing and although I’ve had many wonderful female friends in my life, I’ve never gotten the girls’ day concept. I will admit I occasionally get jealous of the posts about girlfriends grabbing coffee and heading to the salon or shopping and treating themselves to a little something.

Maybe, that is why I decided to start small – literally. Olivia had a day off school and I had a day off work so instead of just hanging around the house like we normally do I decided to plan a girls’ day out on the town. Of course, I had to keep little hands and interests appeased so there would be no salon stop. But, we would still have a coffee stop, shopping, and lots of treating ourselves to a good time.

If you ask Olivia where she wants to go in the morning, the answer will most likely be Caribou. We aren’t really sure where the preference or brainwashing came from, but she does have good taste. So that is where we started our day together. Sitting at a table with my iced coffee, her strawberry banana smoothie, and crumbs from a apple cinnamon muffin making their way across every available surface.Caribou coffee

The second place Olivia is sure to tell you she wants to go is Target. What can I say, we live in Minnesota? The kid talks about Target all the time, can spot a Target from miles away, and really should be in one of their ads. This is sort of the perfect place to wander on a girls’ day . . . we played with toys, found some cute spring outfits, ate a rice krispy treat, and found some new snacks (we are both grazers).

The place I was most excited for was the Stages Theatre in Hopkins. I had been looking for a fun show to take Olivia to, but I’m not sure she would sit through a movie in the movie theater and the Children’s theater can be so expensive (come on she is three years old and we are watching a weekday production of a children’s book!). So when I found out Stages Theatre Company puts on shows for children that bring their favorite children’s books and fairytales to life and it only costs $16.00 per person ­- I was sold. I had never been to downtown Hopkins, but it is a traditional little downtown with free public parking so win-win all around. The small theater is perfect for a group of fidgety kids. Comfy seats, booster seats provided, nothing is to far from the stage, and the length of the show is long enough to test their ability to sit still, but not so long that you need a cranky child intermission. For Olivia’s first ever theater visit we saw Goodnight Moon. The show was a cute rendition with talented acting, wonderful lights and sound effects, and a colorful set that kept our eyes glued to the stage.

Stages ThreatreAfter watching the bunny refuse bedtime and have a few adventures we were off to continue girls’ day. It was lunch time and both of our tummies were calling so we headed to a new spot – PizzaRev. I had never even heard of the place, but it was a tasty spot to stumble upon. A build your own pizza joint with a variety of topping options and a wonderful crackery thin crust. I let Olivia pick the toppings and we, of course, ended up with pepperoni, but surprisingly we also finished the pie off with mushrooms, black olives, and spinach. The pizza was great for sharing with a little one or you could easily have your own. All done in 15 minutes tasting fantastic it was a great find for when you have a hungry toddler in tow.Pizza Rev

After a second stop at Target (because why would we buy everything we need in one visit!) we finally headed home exhausted, but so happy. I think I get the appeal of the girls’ day now. I know for sure I’ll be doing more with Olivia and I can’t wait to see what new places we find as she gets older.