Tag Archives: blended families

Apathy, Indifference, Whatever…

I have not really had much to say about ED in the last 2 months. Here is why:

I had a miscarriage.

I haven’t been able to talk about it.

When it happened, I lost my appetite and didn’t eat for a week. I cried and sobbed and drank myself to sleep every night for a month. I binged a few times. I ate “normally” and I just existed for the last little while. I had experienced weight gain after the miscarriage, but not during the pregnancy – I wasn’t far enough along. I hated myself for what happened and of course, I blamed myself for what happened.

My boyfriend was supportive and loving and caring. He put up with the snot and sobbing and staring into outer space like a zombie. He comforted me every night while I fell apart. He held me when I woke up screaming from nightmares about dead babies. He flew my mother here to help me cope (yes, her being here had nothing to with my birthday so I feel even shittier about being ungrateful). He ran me bubble baths and tried to shield me from adverts for diapers or someone giving birth in a movie.

For two months I have been depressed. It is a kind of depressed that I have never known before.

In the beginning it was hard enough to function while dealing with the physical repercussions of the miscarriage. I lost so much blood and was in so much pain. I was physically weak and exhausted. It was all-consuming. I couldn’t think about anything else except the baby we might have had. Miscarriage is common. I read all about it. I read everything I could. It still didn’t prepare me for what I went through or how devastated I am.

Now, a couple of months later, the physical symptoms are gone and I am left with a hollow in my heart. I would have been 16 weeks along today.

ED has barely featured since and I am not sure why. I still think about it. I stare at my much heavier reflection at ballet and am repulsed. I have to squeeze into my size 6 pants and it upsets me, but I don’t do anything. I eat in terms I can only describe as “normal”, keeping in mind that I don’t know what normal is. I am not actively starving, bingeing or purging. I am drinking a lot. I seem to have become apathetic and indifferent to food. I am unconcerned with anything except trying to get through my day with my sanity intact. Work has been overly stressful and dramatic. My boyfriend and I have had some more relationship turmoil (as usual revolving around the mother of his youngest child). We continue to not move forward. At the end of the day, I cannot cope with any of it. I cannot deal with anything.

I have been trying to get back into a gym routine over the last few weeks. I have little incentive or motivation to exercise other than I know endorphins are good for depression. I just don’t really seem to care and I cannot make myself care. I have thought about going to see a counsellor. On that note, I dropped out of my ED treatment that I was in. There didn’t seem much point in going.

So I have nothing to update on the ED front. I ate cucumbers and hummus at work today. Last week when my anxiety over our relationship was much higher, I ate nothing. Tonight I ate 2 bowls of pasta and didn’t purge. On the weekend when we went on a happy family vacation, I ate 3 meals a day. There seems to be no rhyme or reason.

When my coworker announced her pregnancy this week and her due date 10 days after mine would have been, I hid in my office. I feel a numbness. Other than being depressed, I haven’t felt much else except the inability to cope. My anxiety has been escalating lately over work and relationship stuff and that usually sends my ED into a frenzy, but I have barely reacted if the truth be told. All I want to do is sleep. I don’t mean kill myself because I have no suicidal tendencies at all. I just want to sleep for a very long time.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Damaged 

I wish he knew me before I was damaged. I wish he had met me when I still believed in love stories and happily-ever-after – when I wasn’t jaded or bitter or calloused. I wish he could have known me when I loved without restraint, without holding back or guarding my heart. I wish I hadn’t given that part of myself to others or wasted it on the undeserving. I wish he could have known me before the wounds and hurts and heartaches overtook me; before the disappointments and let downs; before the abuse and neglect and rape. I wish he had known me before all this, when I wouldn’t have held back or demanded timelines or been harsh and unyielding. I wish he could see that I want to give him that, but I’m too scared. When he holds me in the night and soothes me and caresses me and my anxieties leave, I lean against his chest – my head upon his heart – and I know this is it. He is my epic love story and I am sabotaging it. I am giving him a hard time because I’m frightened he will not be true to his word – just like the others. Just like the others I am convinced he will mess me around, make me wait for nothing, damage me more. I am convinced in his difficult situation that we, that I, will not survive. I let it come between us because I cannot fight it. Instead I feel like I am fighting him – the one who loves me. He is paying for the sins of the ones who came before him. I wish I could look at him and tell him: I know. My heart knows. I have never been loved this way before. I love him so fiercely it terrifies me. I love his children and the family we have become. When I am not trying to run, I am happier than I have ever been before. When he holds me in the middle of the night as I cry in distress, conflicted, I know I am safe here. I need to remember that moment in all the other moments that overwhelm me. 

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Home Time Triggers

135lbs

I am one week away from going home. My goal was to be in the 120’s by then. It isn’t happening.

Going home is exciting and stressful all at the same time. Exciting because I get to see everyone, stressful because of finances and many other things. I will be gone for 5 weeks. I leave my boyfriend and children behind which will cause me anxiety. I go to be with my family which will also cause me anxiety. Nothing is as triggering as going back to the root of your eating disorder.

I love my family. I am overjoyed to see them. One of my oldest, bestest friends is getting married and I have the honour of being her bridesmaid. I am, of course, worried about being thin enough in my bridesmaid’s dress.

I am torn: torn by my boyfriend not being able to come with me and torn by my family who need me too. I drop out of one life and into another, worlds apart. It is emotionally overwhelming.

I cope by eating, or not eating. When I eat, I purge. By the time I leave next week, I will be beside myself. I will cry all the way there and on the way back, I will cry all the way here for different reasons.

I had firmly believed, that I would be going home engaged to my boyfriend. He told me he would give me a reason to come back and I thought that would be it. Part of me imagined he would surprise me by buying a last-minute ticket and coming with me, or just showing up back home. I know I am setting myself up for a massive heartache. There will be no engagement ring. There will be no surprise visit. When I get back from my trip in July and am bereft and lost and distressed, he is going away for a week with his kids. I will need him, but they will need him more. Some days I just have to accept that this is how it is.

The heart wants what it wants and right now I want to go home and never come back here. This is no fairytale. There is no happily-ever-after.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Expectations 

  

The moment I was so sure was not going to happen, happened. My boyfriend left to collect the kids from their moms and didn’t even ask me if I wanted to go with. Before he came home he mesaaged me to meet him in the kitchen in about ten minutes. That’s when I knew something was up.

I had gone to nap earlier in the afternoon, so distressed that I had not been acknowledged on Mothers Day. He came to bed to cuddle me and I told him that after the week we had, I needed him to talk to me. I told him I was still reeling from the hurt and felt an emotional disconnect between us. So he talked and I cried and 3 hours later we were still lying there in each other’s arms. I felt like that conversation went a long way to closing the chasm between us. Still he didn’t say one word about Mother’s Day. 

I resigned myself to the fact that it was not going to happen because I am not officially their step mom. 

Cue two hours later: he come home with the children, flowers, a card and cheesecake. The children hugged me and kissed me and I dissolved into tears. His son asks why I was crying and I tried to tell them they were happy tears. He threw his arms around me. They sat on me lap and helped me unwrap the flowers. The writing in my card read “you feel like my mom”.  

We had a family dinner and ate our cheesecake (which I haven’t purged). My boyfriend told me that he had been working on the surprise for a while. I told him that I had been waiting all day for some acknowledgement and had given up. He told me he was just waiting for the children because at the end of the day I will be their step mom and they needed to be there. Then he said, “I’m much better when there are no expectations”. 

I’ve been told before that my expectations are too high. That they are too high for myself and for others. I felt awful. I wished he had just hinted this morning at something coming later in the day, to allay my fear that on a day that celebrates mothers, I would not be acknowledged as one by the man who’s children I love. 

I still feel bad, guilty for expecting it. It is true that expectation is the root of all heartache. Perhaps I need to stop expecting anything. 

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Mother’s Day For Non-Mothers

Today is my first official “unofficial” mother’s day. I say “unofficial” because my partner and I are not married so technically I am not a step mother. I say official because in the last 10 months it has been full on mothering for me to his two kids.

I have not been acknowledged either way by him today. The kids are with their mothers, obviously, even though it is our weekend with them. I realize I will face a life time of not sharing this day with them. My partner kissed me goodbye this morning when he left to go watch his son’s lacrosse game. He said, “if you speak to your mom tell her happy mother’s day from me.” He has never met my mother, but he thought to acknowledge her. He didn’t say anything to me. I didn’t get any expression of thanks or acknowledgement for the mothering I do to his kids.

I don’t know what I was expecting really. Last weekend some friends were over having dinner with us and my girlfriend said, “now you get to celebrate mother’s day”. I looked at my boyfriend and I said, “I don’t think he knew that.” My girlfriend ignored my comment and said, “no, you’re a mom now. You celebrate mother’s day.”

I know we get the kids back some time this evening. Part of me wonders if it will cross my boyfriend’s mind to do anything. Flowers? A card? I don’t know, does Hallmark make “step mother” mother’s day cards for women who aren’t officially step mothers? Part of me feels like if he does do anything it will only be because my girlfriend brought it up last weekend and said he had to. I feel caught in the middle. I do not get to not mother the children because there is no ring on my finger. I can’t refuse to change dirty diapers or hold sick children or feed them or take care of them or bath them or dress them or play with them or love them because there is no ring on my finger. I have to mother them regardless. And I choose to mother them because I want to. Who can not look at a child and love them? Who can not want to take care of a child even if it is not biologically theirs? It is not possible to look at them and not feel a bond to them after all this time. Every day that I am with this man, I make a conscious decision to love him and his children. It has not been easy. This week in particular has been the hardest one to continue to make that choice in the light of no forthcoming committment from him.

So this post is for the unofficial mothers. The ones who have made a choice to love other women’s children. The ones who are not recognized or acknowledged or appreciated for what they do. The ones that are reviled and hated by the biological moms instead of thanked. The ones who sacrifice themselves for children that will never call them “mum”. The ones who do everything that a mother does, which in my opinion makes you a mother. It seems the more I delve into step motherhood that the more obvious it is that people only acknowledge you as part of the mum club if you have been impregnated and pushed a child out of your vagina. I know biology is the least of what makes a mother a mother.

***

I got up, alone, skyped my mother in Africa. I poured my coffee and left for church. I had wanted my boyfriend to come to church with me today, but he chose to go to his son’s 5th lacrosse game this week. It seems fitting that he spent part of mother’s day with the mother of his son whom he is still officially married to.

I came home from church wondering if there would be anything. There was nothing. No flowers, no card, no present. The house is a mess, kids stuff everywhere, my boyfriend was sleeping upstairs. He asked how church was. He asked if I had spoken to my mother. He didn’t say a word about doing something special today or ask what I might like to do. I know I am waiting for some token acknowledgement that won’t happen or will be meaningless by the time it happens hours from now and is a fleeting moment he did out of obligation. He has had a whole day to look at me and say the words I long to hear “thank you for mothering my children”.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Same Shit, Different Guy

I heard the same shit tonight that made me end my last relationship.

I had a ‘check-in’ conversation with my boyfriend at bed time to make sure that we were on the same page (of the same book). I told him we never actually talk about time lines and plans for our future. I said that if we don’t put the wheels in motion nothing will ever happen. I told him we are nearly at a year and we never actually discuss our future unless it is vague. I made the mistake of asking him how he felt about our situation and what he was thinking so that we could see if our timelines and plans would mesh.

How the tune has changed from “I can’t wait for you to be my wife” and ” I want to spend the rest of my life with you” to this: “I don’t have a timeline”, “well I might want to marry you in two years, but I don’t know how I will feel then…what if something goes wrong?” and “what if I need 6 more months, what if I’m not ready?”

Let’s just say that no matter how he tried to explain himself, I got the message loud and clear. Now that he has a live in maid who pays rent and a step mommy for his kids, he suddenly isn’t that interested in how fast he can make me his wife. Like the saying goes: why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

I reminded him that he has already had his children and therefore isn’t even concerned about the window of opportunity for us to have more. I reminded him I will be 33 in four months and I am not willing to pass up my time to have children while he decides if he wants to be with me or not. I reminded him that I am the one who has made a massive commitment to him by moving in with him and taking on his kids and all the (never-ending) shit that goes along with his situation. I reminded him that I cook and clean and do laundry and take care of him and the kids. My finances are now supporting him and his kids. I asked what more he could possibly want out of a girlfriend. I didn’t say what I was thinking: that he has nothing much to offer – other than being a nice guy. He has no money, no boundaries and a baggage carousel that is giving me motion sickness. I reminded him that he told me in the beginning that he was unlike any guy I had ever dated before, that he was different.

Sadly, he has proved he is just like the rest of them, but under worse circumstances. So I guess “different” was the right word. I am more mad at myself than I am at him.  After all I was the one who swore blind that I wouldn’t date a North American (EVER AGAIN) or a non-Christian and neither would I move in with anyone until there was a ring on my finger. So now I am mad at myself for doing what I said I wouldn’t which means I have learned nothing from the preceding heartaches. I am mad at myself for believing that he would be different from any other guy. How dumb am I? I guess to answer my own question, I am a fat anorexic so I am obviously not going to be a MENSA candidate any time soon. I am mad at myself for trusting him when he told me he wanted me to be his wife and that he couldn’t wait. I am mad at myself for taking him literally when he said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I am mad for at myself for imagining that a proposal was coming at any moment: christmas, valentines, mother’s day, the long weekend when we go away, a trip home to surprise me when I am with my family…

More so I am mad at myself for repeating the things I do that get me nowhere: loving too much, giving too much, trusting too much. He knew when he met me that my plan was to leave the country and return home to my family so he said he would give me a reason to stay. He knew when he started dating me that i had no intention of waiting around for an engagement, that if we weren’t serious, I wasn’t interested. I was very upfront with him when I said I wanted my own children (even though he didn’t want any more). i said frankly that I didn’t plan on waiting the obligatory 3 years that seem to be standard before a guy “shits or gets off the pot”. I mean this guy is 40 years old. You either know or you don’t. Waiting 3 years to ask someone to marry you is the kind of nonsense you do in your twenties….when no one cares  about timelines. The last guy I dated for 3 years (who promised me an engagement ring when we moved in together) said the same things to me that my boyfriend said tonight: he had no timeline, he was not ready, he was not sure what might happen or how he might feel in the future.

They are all the same in the end. All of them.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Unlovable

We go to the wedding today. I wear 2 different outfits: one to the ceremony and one to the reception. I don’t eat all day so that I might look vaguely acceptable (to myself or perhaps some passers by). My boyfriend doesn’t look at me, or notice me, or comment on my apprearance. Given the horrible things he said a few days ago when I was trying on dresses for this event, maybe it is a blessing – you know the kind they say come in “disguise”.

I starve and I primp and I preen. I paint my face and curl my eyelashes and spritz and tease and my legs are tanned and my collar bones are glittered. I brush and comb and fuss and tuck and pin and change and inspect and criticize and adjust and ruefully accept the outcome. We arrive at the ceremony and he says a blanket “you guys looks snazzy” to all 3 of us. Snazzy…the epitomy of compliments. The truth is he only has eyes for his daughter. When she is around, his son and I cease to exist.  I get compliments from his friends at the wedding. Complete strangers talk to me in the washroom telling me they like my dress or hair. One woman hugs me and uses the word “gorgeous”. My boyfriend barely acknowledges me. He is disconnected, preoccupied and I am just the maid who had fed and cleaned and dressed and delivered his children to him while he has been drinking with his friends. 

He takes his daughter “for a walk” which is code for calling her mother. I sit at a table for ten fat, repulsive and alone, staring  into my appetizer, looking for love. After the briefest pretense I walk away from the table and in my high heels and lace and pearls and curls, I toss back up the disappointment. There is not enough wine to soothe my discontented soul. 

His daughter is sick and whiny. She takes up all our attention. There is no time for “us”. There is no hand holding. There is no smiling into each other’s eyes. There is no dancing at this wedding. I hold her and she fidgets, unhappy. He holds her. She cries for cupcakes. No matter what we do, she is fractious. We are home by 10:09pm on a Saturday night. I wanted to slow dance in his arms and dream of our wedding which we both know (but won’t acknowledge) will never happen. The kind of things you do when you are only 9 months into a relationship. I wanted the overflow of love and happiness from this union to flood out hearts. But there are children to take care of  and his stomach is upset by the Indian food (which I hear about in graphic, unromantic detail), so we go home. I pour myself wine in the kitchen, take out the flower from my hair while my boyfriend puts his daughter to bed. His woefully neglected son comes to me in the kitchen and tells me that he feels like we don’t love him. I wrap my arms around him knowing exactly what that feels like and hating myself for not being able to stop him from feeling it too. 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trying On Dresses

After the tragedy of trying on dresses for my boyfriend the other night, I decided to try on some dresses alone today. I need one (or two) for the wedding we are going to tomorrow. I put on my favourite BCBG dress that I had altered from a size 8 to a size 2 when I was pretty sick a few years ago. (That is ED sick in case you were wondering.) It zipped. It fit. Angels might as well have sung the Hallelujah chorus for me. I am certainly nowhere near as thin as I got 2 years ago, but I am well on my way.

At my CT scan today the nurse told me that it was easy to redo my dosage because I was “so tiny”. It went a long way to healing the devastation of my boyfriend asking me how “it was even possible” for me to fit in my friend’s dresses, because she has “a much smaller frame” than me. I got the “skinny bitch” out of my coworker as he rapped my hip bones and told me I had no ass this week. (We are dancers so there is nothing weird about observing each others’ bodies.) I got a “you have my dream body” from a pretty svelte girl at a party last night.

My boyfriend, the kids and I ate dinner on the back deck tonight. I made salad and baked pasta. I had 3 helpings of pasta and probably would have had more, but everyone got up and went inside. My stomach hurt as I cleaned up dinner. As per usual, my boyfriend was upstairs bathing his little girl and talking to her mother on the phone. It is the part of the night where I get to clean up dinner and the kitchen (aka the shitty chores), instead of bonding with a child that I desperately need to bond with. After a while I heard him calling for me from upstairs (I’m guessing they were done with her mother and it was ok for me to exist again as someone other than the maid). I ignored him, tossed back my wine and went to throw up dinner. I plan on looking even thinner in that dress tomorrow.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Post Purge Hangover

Bulimia hangover.

I wake up feeling like I have been run over. I look awful: eyes puffy with dark circles, fat face, dull skin. My stomach is empty, burning full of bile and nothing else. My throat feels like I swallowed glass. I am exhausted, dehydrated, migrainey. I am empty.

I hate the morning after a purge. I love the feeling that stays with me long after the hangover. The numbness and calm; the anxiety ebbing away.

Everything is beautiful this morning: my boyfriend and the children (even at 6am), our life together…all the chaos that upsets me doesn’t seem to matter. The lack of control is negated because I have found control elsewhere. I stroll into the day calorie free, armed only with coffee and I know I can do this. I can starve even though my anxiety will spike in a couple of hours. I can curb it later with wine and if I have to eat, I can purge that too. All is right in my world, if not well. All is as it should be: familiar and comforting, soothing to my tormented soul. My demons are placated.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Coping

I have been slowly falling back into my ED habits. I say slowly because part of me is not sure if this is going to set off another bout of kidney issues. I am consciously restricting (although it is not very severe at the moment) and the purging is becoming more regular. Thankfully, my binges are not of epic proportions at the moment, so it is easier to hide. The few months of not engaging in ED behaviours when I thought that was causing my kidney problems, are over. I am so thankful to be able to cope for now. Tonight I knew dinner was going to be purged. My plan was to come home and not eat after being disgusted by myself all day. Lately, I have become more aware of myself size-wise and the usual loathing for the sight of my naked flesh is back. It started with a photograph of me in a bridesmaid dress that I will be wearing in June. I was blown away by how huge I was. “Beached whale” sprang to mind and has not left since. The last month I have been suffering terrible distress over my relationship and it’s never-ending complications and drama. I found that purging eased my anxiety. There are only so many nights you can freak out, sob yourself to sleep and expect your boyfriend to remain understanding. Part of my distress is that I think there are things he doesn’t understand or doesn’t care to.

On Saturday night we were out for dinner with 3 other couples and their kids. We got to the restaurant and everyone was picking their seats when my boyfriend suddenly disappeared. He was outside on the phone to the mother of his daughter and it drove me insane. For the two hours that we were out as a family, he had to go outside so that his child could talk to her mom because it would be totally unreasonable for her to wait until the morning. I understand that I am just supposed to “get it” and go along with it, but I lost my mind. Everyone else was sitting there with their partner and mine was nowhere to be seen. Rude to our friends and more than rude to me and I have no intention of tolerating it. The situation is so ridiculous and yet even more is asked of me. Every few days it is a massive ordeal of me breaking down, crying and having to explain it to him. I know it can’t go on like this. If he doesn’t eventually get it without me having to point out every unreasonable thing that I’m just expected to tolerate, then I can’t survive. I figured he knew how much he had to ask of someone to be with him in his situation and that would mean that every effort would be made to make it bearable not the opposite.

Back to ED. We got back from the restaurant on Saturday evening, he went to put his child to bed and I went to throw up. The relief was immediate. I remembered why purging works: the numbness after. Tonight, after eating dinner, despite my intentions not to (mmm…pasta), I waited for him to take his daughter for a bath. Bath time upsets me because I can’t be a part of it. It is the time when she calls her mother (and they all pretend I don’t exist) and I am left to clean up dinner and the kitchen, parent the other child who barely gets a look in, tidy up and make lunches for school. It upsets me, but then what part of sharing my boyfriend’s time and attention with his kids and their mothers doesn’t upset me? So tonight I waited til bath time knowing that as usual, he is so focused on her that I can get away with whatever I want and he will never notice. I glugged a couple of glasses of wine (which I know I should give up, but I can’t) and purged dinner while he was upstairs with his child and I was quietly “not existing”.

It is the only way I know how to cope. It will mean that I, and more importantly we, can survive this.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,