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A Husband's Voice on Pregorexia

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Maggie Baumann, MA: I shared my story about pregorexia a few weeks ago on momlogic. Since then, I've learned some facts I wasn't completely aware of from my own family on how they were affected.

A Husband's Voice on Pregorexia

My 21-year-old daughter, Whitney, posted an article about her perspective last week. So last night, I sat down with my husband, Mike, and asked him what his thoughts were on living through my pregorexia, but as the observing dad.

Blinded by Ignorance
I asked Mike if he was aware of the eating disorder behaviors I exhibited when I was pregnant with Whitney. He responded, "I wasn't even aware of what an eating disorder was and that the disease existed." He mentioned that since he did not know about the disease, he was not even aware of how to recognize it. However, he was conscious that I restricted calories and that my exercise was a high priority, but he never made the connection that these behaviors were part of an eating disorder. You might wonder how he was unable to make the connection. I think a big part of the unawareness relates to the time period during which I was pregnant with Whitney. It was 1987, and there wasn't a lot of publicity about eating disorders, unlike what we know today.

Oblivious on the Sidelines

I questioned Mike about whether he realized how much smaller my body was during my pregnancy with Whitney. "I wasn't paying attention to your size," he said. "I just thought that your body wasn't as big, but I didn't know there could be a problem." Also, Mike didn't believe a mother wouldn't be able to feed herself properly and take care of her unborn child. "I never imagined anyone who wouldn't eat enough for her baby," he said. Of course, at that time, I wasn't truly aware of my disordered thoughts or unhealthy behaviors to share with my husband or anyone else.

Treatment Provided Education
Mike didn't recognize the signs until I went in for treatment many years after my pregnancies. "When the doctors explained what the disorder is, I finally understood," he told me. "I felt like a fool because this disorder robbed so much from my family." Mike realizes now that the eating disorder is a disease, but this doesn't keep him from being angry. "It's a sick, sick disease that doesn't make logical sense. And if I can provide any feedback to husbands/fathers out there, I would say: 'Every new husband should get educated about eating disorders. It should be a topic that is discussed in premarital counseling.'" What my husband and I both understand now is that eating disorders are a family disease and everyone is affected.

Click here for more on pregorexia and Maggie's journey.

next: Chris Brown Pleas, Gets Slap on the Wrist
2 comments so far | Post a comment now
Mary Jane  July 17, 2009, 10:15 PM

I read the article in the OC register just now. I recognized you immediately. Your daughter Whitney and my daughter Sarah were classmates in kindergarten and first grade. Sarah attended Whitneys gymnastics birthday party and I still have the photos that were the party favors. The photos are more precious now since Sarah was killed threee and a half years ago in a tragic accident. In fact there is a race this weekend at SMHS in her memory. That is not why I write. I write because I read the negative comments. And had to say what a great mother you are. I remember a particular day when the girls were in first grade. You and I were one of the few working mothers. I had the day off and was working in the classroom. You were leaving after a class event and Whitney wanted you to stay. The pain I recognized in your eyes was pain I too had felt having to leave to go to work and wanting to stay. I told you I’d take care of Whitney. She and Sarah played and she was great. Over the years we have run into each other each with our girls. And everytime there was no doubt that you loved your children and would have done anything for them.
To read the comments from strangers I had to rrespond that there was no doubt in my mind you were a wonderful mother with a horrible disease. I wish you the best and so happy to hear Whitney is at San Diego. Sarah went to Northern Arizona University. Good luck to you in your new career. M J Demille

Maggie Baumann July 19, 2009, 3:38 PM

Hi Mary Jane,

It is very nice to hear from you, and thanks for your comments. I am so sorry to hear of the tragic accident that took Sara’s life … how devastating that must be for you and your whole family. I remember Sara and what a sweet girl she was. I let Whitney know and Whitney remembers her as well. I hope your family is moving forward. You can never erase Sara’s tragic ending; the hurt will probably be with you the rest of your life. However, you can try to celebrate her memory of the life she did have. I wish you all the comfort you deserve.

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