Anorexic mom admits to starving herself during pregnancy

holly griffithsSome women regard pregnancy as a free pass to eat anything and everything their heart desires. After all, they are eating for two! However, if you're a woman who is dealing with or has ever dealt with an eating disorder, pregnancy can send you into a tailspin of binging, purging, and extreme dieting. Just ask mother of two, Holly Griffiths. At 5'5, the 21-year-old London native weighed less than 110 pounds when she was 8 months pregnant with her second child.



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holly griffithsThough women dread the prospect of dealing with morning sickness in their first trimester of pregnancy, but not Holly. For her, morning sickness was the perfect cover-up for her eating disorder. "When I first discovered I was pregnant I was terrified of having to gain weight again," the 21-year-old mother of two tells "I suffered terrible morning sickness which caused my weight to drop, triggering my anorexia. I had thoughts of purging but didn't need to, my body was reacting in its own way. This made eating a lot easier, because I would just vomit it up anyway."

Holly knew that she should be desperately seeking any excuse to try and keep food down. However, she explains, it's not as easy as it sounds. "I know I have to eat for the baby, but it's hard to push the voices away that are telling me I'm fat," explains Holly. But she wasn't fat. She was actually remarkably thin and frail, thanks to a constant battle with anorexia and bulimia.

In fact, Holly was so frail, she barely survived her first pregnancy. Though her now-2-year-old son Dylan was born healthy, Holly suffered irreparable damage to her still very young body. In a Youtube video she shared documenting the constant battle between her eating disorder and her pregnancies, Holly recalled how her frail ribs literally cracked when she was pregnant with her son; she was too malnourished to withstand the pressure of a growing fetus. Her pelvis was also put through the wringer. According to Holly, it aged FIFTEEN years in nine months, due in large part to her chronic battle with food.

Given the hell she'd been through, most people would assume Holly would change her habits the second time around. But, unfortunately, she couldn't. For women suffering with eating disorders, like Holly, there's no such thing as just eating or just taking a donut for the team. Every morsel of food taken in means something. And more often than not, it means loss of control. And so when they see their bodies growing and changing without their consent, they freak out and do anything necessary to counter that growth, including limiting their food intake and risking the lives of their unborn children.

It may be easy to sit back and demonize women like Holly, but you have to remember that they're dealing with an eating disorder, and eating disorders are mental illnesses. It was for that reason that Holly decided to share her story. She wanted the one in twenty pregnant women who will likely suffer from an eating disorder to know that they are not alone. She wants them to know that they are not evil or selfish. She also wants the world to know that. 

Holly has continued to share her story, even after she gave birth to her daughter, Isla. Isla was born healthy and happy. As for Holly, she's still struggling with her disorder, but she hasn't given up hope. "I'm desperate to recover so I can teach my kids a healthy way to approach food. I couldn't bear it if they had body issues like me, so I'm continuing to fight the voices in my head and get better for them." Good luck, Holly! I'm rooting for you.

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Topics: eating disorder  embarazo  health  healthy eating