These past few weeks I’ve been nannying for a 3-month-old baby. I’ve babysat for babies around her age before but it’s been a few years and I think, as I’ve gotten older, my appreciation and awe for children has merely grown. It’s incredible to watch such a small bundle of cells breathe and move. Even the smallest of motions, like watching them blink or watching them flail their limbs seems like an incredible feat. The thing which has gotten to me the most, though, is the mom and her new outlook on food since having her little girl.
She told me that one day, before breast feeding, her husband had made her a salad with cauliflower and broccoli and it upset her baby because too many vegetables makes babies gassy. She said she didn’t know why because while she was pregnant she was very cautious about what she put in her body but it was that moment, even after the baby had come out of her, that she realized that everything she ate still greatly impacted that baby. It was up to her to make sure that her baby was healthy and that meant also taking care of herself. She said that when you begin to eat for two, all of those standards that you used to hold yourself to suddenly go out the window because who cares what you look like as long as if you’re keeping your own child healthy and safe.
For anyone who has struggled with an ED, it’s incredibly easy to get tunnel vision and only think about ourselves. What we’re putting, or not putting, into our bodies, how that makes us feel, and how it makes us look. But what if we stopped and thought about how the things we did to ourselves also impacted others? I’m not suggesting that everyone gets pregnant and has a child in order to fully realize just how important taking care of our own bodies is. I don’t think it even has to be that complicated. I have a friend from school who suffers from an ED and when I’m around her, I automatically find myself eating more, and talking more positively about food than I normally do just because I know actions like that will benefit her. In the end, however, those same actions also end up helping me. If I looked at everyone else around me like a baby (I know, it seems super weird) who needed me to make sure I was happy and healthy and well-nourished in order for them to be the same, I don’t think I would struggle nearly half as much as I do now. When you realize it’s not just about yourself, everything changes. When you realize how important your health is to others, eating right becomes might just become easier.