Anorexia, fertility and pregnancy: Australian mum beat deadly eating disorder to have children

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Our new series, Pregnancy Diaries, aims to share true pregnancy stories from real women. The best, the worst, hilarious and shocking moments from conception to birth.

This diary entry details mother Sarah Yip’s brave recovery from decades of anorexia, becoming a mother, and welcoming three sons.

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Sarah Yip poses with her family, which includes her three sons. (attached)

I started restricting my eating at 9 o’clock, around the time I was weighed in school, and shortly after my grandmother passed away unexpectedly. I was bullied at school too.

I wasn’t diagnosed with anorexia until I was 32. I was also diagnosed with autism and genius (“double exceptional”) at the age of 40.

I wish I had known about these issues sooner, but all I can do now is raise awareness for others and help their children have a better time than I did. Another girl in the family was also anorexic. I think there’s a genetic connection and some trauma from having relatives in China during World War II.

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I wanted children at a young age, but when I was in my late 20s, I tried to conceive, but it didn’t work out. Instead, I had extreme period pain, suspected endometriosis, and ovarian cysts, possibly related to workplace stress and my ups and downs eating habits. When I wasn’t there, I didn’t feel like I deserved to eat. That’s pretty sad.

For 14 years, Sarah Yip desperately wanted to be a mother.
For 14 years, Sarah Yip desperately wanted to be a mother. (attached)

Anorexia also affected my fertility in my twenties. I remember the doctor telling me that if I didn’t start eating again, I wouldn’t be able to have children and I might die of organ failure. He said that some people look fine on the outside.

It made me act. I started eating meat again and relaxed my diet.

I’m glad I was saved before I was hospitalized. It was in part because her friend and therapist encouraged me to see someone, and she probably saved my life.

I still get chills when I remember the pregnancy test.

When I finally got treatment for anorexia, I had group therapy and a big canvas goal setting exercise. I painted babies because I wanted to be healthy enough to regain fertility. Instead, I realized that I wanted more freedom as a woman.

My parents came to Australia during the White Australia policy and had to work all the time to support us. I associated growing old with pain because I watched her mother give up her career dreams. I had to rewire these beliefs in order to heal my body.

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Sarah Yip's husband, Chris, was thrilled that the two would become parents.
Sarah Yip’s husband, Chris, was thrilled that the two would become parents. (attached)

By the time I got pregnant in 2015, I was considered free from active anorexia, but I still needed a lot of counseling to come to terms with my pregnancy weight gain and be seen in public. bottom.

I still get chills when I remember the pregnancy test. I remember teasing her husband Chris that she didn’t look pregnant.

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I honestly knew I was pregnant because a few weeks ago I had a vision of a baby sitting on our bed. said. he pointed to an imaginary clock. Interestingly, my 6-year-old son Forrest still tells me to hurry up.

I was overjoyed to find out, but had a baby before marriage, so some of my inner circle were less impressed – plus my job as a psychic isn’t very stable. was not considered to be

During her pregnancy, Sarah Yip struggled with weight gain after years of an eating disorder.
During her pregnancy, Sarah Yip struggled with weight gain after years of an eating disorder. (attached)

I studied comedy and dealt with their suspicions by announcing my pregnancy at a stand-up show in Brisbane posted on YouTube. I realized that being a parent meant being a leader, and I had to be stronger to deal with the heckling.

My husband Chris came with me to the pregnancy yoga and birthing classes and was very supportive along the way. always sat with me to make sure he had finished his meal.

He didn’t get involved in my therapy, but he understands that my mental illness may have me dealing with it for the rest of my life. am.

I chose to give birth at a birthing center. Because I knew I needed the same midwifery team for my emotional safety. I didn’t have to explain my medical history to various nurses and doctors, especially since anorexia isn’t always well understood.

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Sarah Yip gave birth to her first son in water.
Sarah Yip gave birth to her first son in water. (attached)

Some people think you chose it instead of recognizing it as the real disease with the highest mortality rate among mental illnesses. It’s like blaming someone for drowning because you can’t swim. Not everyone is born knowing how to take care of themselves and their bodies.

I was scared of giving birth because I never thought I would be able to give birth. I have a low pain threshold and am not the best person to be around. But I have wonderful family, friends, therapists and midwives who have given me the courage I need to succeed. I got

I recovered from decades of anorexia and had my first son.

Many of my friends had four children, so one was just fine (we ended up with three). I also found comfort in the idea that childbirth is primarily about thinking, cooperation and perseverance. As a spiritual person, I asked for help in giving my baby a good birth.

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Chris and Sarah Yip with their newborn son.
Chris and Sarah Yip with their newborn son. (attached)

Yoga, chiropractic, and massage during pregnancy helped me stay flexible throughout. There was a blessed way to prepare for So when labor started, a dozen friends prayed for me. I’m sure it helped too.

When I arrived to give birth to Forrest, the clock read 11:11 am, and the midwife and I smiled. We both saw it as a sign of good luck.

I imagined pressing the big “pain relief” button to trigger the endorphins and people giving me flowers after every contraction. roses, gerberas, irises). She thought of the chocolate cake in the fridge at home to motivate her to give birth even more. Even postpartum was delicious!

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When my first child, Forrest, was born aquatic, I was in tears and in pain, but also in absolute devotion. Chris and I have had two more sons, so the rest is history.

Sarah Yip's son Forrest as a baby.
Sarah Yip’s son Forrest as a baby. (attached)

Having three boys in five years is a great way to keep us entertained for the rest of our lives. We are so grateful to be parents. Having children later (I had them between the ages of 35 and 40) is more important now that I have my own business. Be patient and it means you can get around them.I don’t think I would have had a child if I had been working 9-5.

After wanting to be a mother for over 14 years, I recovered from decades of anorexia and had my first son. I love They are so sweet and then snuggle and kiss my tummy.

For assistance with eating disorders or body image issues, please contact the Butterfly National Helpline at 1800 33 4673 (1800 ED HOPE) or urgent help, you can also call the Eating Disorders Victoria Helpline on 1300 550 23 or the Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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