A woman who has suffered from anxiety and an eating disorder since she was 18 years old has admitted that being scared of changes to her body nearly stopped her becoming a mum.
Brittany Noonan from The Gold Coast in Australia opened up about what it’s like facing pregnancy, and all the changes that come with it, with severe anxiety and an eating disorder.
The 27 year old had suffered with anxiety that not only affected her mentally but physically, developing into an eating disorder in her teens.
After finally getting to a point where she was happy with her body, Brittany was understandably worried that becoming pregnant and putting on weight as a result might trigger her anxiety.
Brittany explains how she started to get a more positive perception of her body image to Mail Online, ‘I was getting to a point where I was okay, I was very much addicted to going to the gym, I’m a personal trainer, but I was addicted to being muscly and fit and looking a certain way.
‘It was different because before I wanted to me really skinny. Just mentally I was always striving to be something else.’
The mum of one had opted for a selective caesarean, attempting to have as much control as possible over her changing body, but unfortunately due to severe morning sickness she suffered a difficult pregnancy which triggered her eating disorder.
‘I would throw up a minimum of 10 times a day,’ she said.
‘In the first eight weeks, I lost between eight and a half and nine kilos. I was in-and-out of hospital, I couldn’t eat, when I did eat I’d throw up.
‘It triggered my eating disorder, I fell in to the same pattern again, I also fell in to depression.’
Brittany admitted to her psychologist the issues she was suffering with, and was diagnosed with antenatal depression and anxiety.
‘I went to see my psychologist and I said to her: “I think I want to be a mum, but I don’t know if I can give birth”.
‘Anxiety and depression were nothing new to me – I have suffered with both in the past but this was different,’ she wrote.
‘Pregnancy was meant to be the most happy, exciting time of my life and a time where I was meant to be connecting with my unborn baby. But for me it wasn’t.’
At 37 weeks, two weeks before her scheduled delivery, her daughter Milena was born by cesarean on September 23, 2015.
‘When he [the obstetrician] told me it was time, I felt this sense of relief,’ she said of the birth. This is going to be over, this sickness will be over, I can move on with my life. When I held her, and heard her cry for the first time, it’s a feeling I can’t describe, it was the most amazing feeling in the world.’
By the end of her pregnancy, Brittany was relieved to be able to eat without feeling sick and wanted to make sure her daughter didn’t suffer from the same anxieties as her.
‘Towards the end of my pregnancy I remember thinking I need to change to make sure my daughter never feels the way I feel about my body. I made it my goal every single day to change my mind and change my thinking.
‘And after going through nearly nine months of hell, I appreciate my body and what it’s done and what it’s achieved.’