Weekly Hope is a Facebook Live interview series with Kirsten Haglund. It airs on Wednesdays on the Eating Disorder Hope Facebook Page. The interviews with our guests cover a wide array of various topics that relate to eating disorders and mental health. The guests include leading doctors, clinicians, experts, advocates, and people with their own recovery experiences, offering their insight and sharing their wisdom.
This discussion was held on November 28, 2018, the day before Thanksgiving.
Kirsten: I’m so excited and so happy for you. The public commentary that pregnant women have to deal with can be pretty invasive, especially for women who have struggled with body image issues.
It may not just be the comments from the people you know or don’t know, but also these added expectations enforced by media and advertising about whether you are gaining too much weight or too little. This can also include doctors who have no knowledge or experience of eating disorders.
Since these comments can be quite triggering, what kind of tips or insight can you provide to women who are struggling?
Jena: It is true that we live in a society where women’s bodies are apparently up for general commentary regardless of any particular situation. However, when you’re pregnant, people somehow believe they can take their filters off.
From my own experiences, what I’ve learned is that first of all we need to give people grace because I have yet to come across a malicious individual who was actually looking to hurt me with their words. I do believe that it is primarily out of ignorance that they come off the way they do. I do not have the power to change anyone, but I do have control over how I choose to respond to things that are said to me.
I am continually reminding myself to focus more on a person’s heart than their words and pause before I react to a comment like “oh my god, you’re so big!” I choose to pick my battles as most people are only meaning to share their excitement with me and I transform such a situation into a teachable moment of sorts.
You really must differentiate between comments that are hurtful from a loved one and individuals you just run into in the general public. If let’s say my husband was to say something hurtful about my appearance, I can choose to have a frank conversation with him to let him know how his words made me feel.
However, if it is a receptionist or someone who makes a passing comment, I’m just going to smile, nod, say thank you and move on.
This does, however, take me back to something I talked about the last time I was on the Eating Disorder Hope Facebook Live Show . It is highly important walking out of recovery to explicitly differentiate our trusted ones who we have given the right to be in our lives, who we listen to and whose opinions mean something to us.
These are the people you can vent your frustrations to about such unpleasant incidences because it will stay with people who love you and in whom you trust. Ultimately, the only person you can change in this world is you, and that’s upon who you need to focus.
Going back to how you mentioned about having trusted healthcare providers, I am presently working with a great midwife who is really supportive of all the changes my mind and body is going through. I am 41 right now, and by the time I deliver my baby girl, I will be 42. So, I am geriatric. Having her work with me has made me realize even more so that how important it is to have a thoughtful and sensitive provider.
I am also on a couple of birth boards, and unfortunately, I do come across a lot of horror stories from people whose doctors are outrageously insensitive, unnecessarily focused on weight to a point where it is genuinely out of balance and borderline body shaming.
My response to such things is always that you do not have to work with such providers if you feel unsafe with them and believe that you cannot trust or be honest with them, then move on and find somebody else.
At one of my own early appointments, I brought a note I had written myself on a bright green sticky note regarding the concerns I had about my history of struggling with an eating disorder and how it played into my present healthcare.
The first time I weighed, I weighed backwards. And, the nurse’s reaction to it was all on me as I didn’t educate her about my concerns.
I did not want to experience that again. So, I wrote it down for them next time to let me weigh backwards and not let me know the number unless there was a significant problem or trend that needed my attention right away. They have kept it in mind ever since and made sure I am comfortable through the process.
It was important for me to have them on the same page and for me and my provider to be on the same team. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of responsibility on our part to take the initiative for our own benefit.
Kirsten: These were some great tips, and I hope anyone watching who is or went through a similar experience can take away something useful from this conversation and use it to empower themselves as the primary decision makers of their health care.
This conversation will continue in EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 3
EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 1
EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 3
EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 4
EDH Weekly Hope – Jena Margis – Pregnancy & Motherhood in ED Recovery – Part 5
Weekly Hope Conversation with Jena Morrow, CADC on November 28, 2018.
Please visit the Weekly Hope with Kirsten Haglund page for other presentations.
About the Author:
Jena Margis, CADC is the Alumnae Coordinator at Timberline Knolls. She develops and maintains relationships with former TK residents after they return home. This is accomplished via phone, email, social media, and other avenues of communication.
Jena is responsible for producing and facilitating various alumnae events, including monthly on-campus gatherings as well as an annual retreat in the Chicago area. She is constantly striving to grow and evolve the alumnae program, which she helped create, and manages an active Alumnae Board and network across the country and world.
In 2010, Jena authored Hollow: An Unpolished Tale (Moody), which chronicles her battle with an eating disorder since her teenage years. In her second book, Hope for the Hollow (Lighthouse Publishing), she offers a practical and relevant devotional guide/journal to gently encourage and inspire women who struggle with themselves and their bodies.
As a national eating disorders awareness advocate and professional speaker, Jena has traveled throughout the country sharing her recovery story and delivering a message of hope and freedom from disordered eating and distorted self-image.
About the Transcript Editor:
Sana Ahmed is a journalist and social media savvy content writer with extensive research, print, and on-air interview skills. She has previously worked as staff writer for a renowned rehabilitation institute, a content writer for a marketing agency, an editor for a business magazine and been an on-air news broadcaster.
Sana graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Management from the London School of Economics and began a career of research and writing right after. Her recent work has largely been focused upon mental health and addiction recovery.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published on April 4, 2019.
Reviewed & Approved on April 4, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com