‘I appreciate my body and what it’s done’ Mum opens up on coping with eating disorder and anxiety while pregnant

A woman who has suffered from anxiety and an eating disorder since she was 18 years old has admitted that being scared of changes to her body nearly stopped her becoming a mum.

Brittany Noonan from The Gold Coast in Australia opened up about what it’s like facing pregnancy, and all the changes that come with it, with severe anxiety and an eating disorder.

The 27 year old had suffered with anxiety that not only affected her mentally but physically, developing into an eating disorder in her teens.

After finally getting to a point where she was happy with her body, Brittany was understandably worried that becoming pregnant and putting on weight as a result might trigger her anxiety.

Brittany explains how she started to get a more positive perception of her body image to Mail Online, ‘I was getting to a point where I was okay, I was very much addicted to going to the gym, I’m a personal trainer, but I was addicted to being muscly and fit and looking a certain way.

‘It was different because before I wanted to me really skinny. Just mentally I was always striving to be something else.’

The mum of one had opted for a selective caesarean, attempting to have as much control as possible over her changing body, but unfortunately due to severe morning sickness she suffered a difficult pregnancy which triggered her eating disorder.

‘I would throw up a minimum of 10 times a day,’ she said.

‘In the first eight weeks, I lost between eight and a half and nine kilos. I was in-and-out of hospital, I couldn’t eat, when I did eat I’d throw up.

‘It triggered my eating disorder, I fell in to the same pattern again, I also fell in to depression.’

Brittany admitted to her psychologist the issues she was suffering with, and was diagnosed with antenatal depression and anxiety.

‘I went to see my psychologist and I said to her: “I think I want to be a mum, but I don’t know if I can give birth”.

‘Anxiety and depression were nothing new to me – I have suffered with both in the past but this was different,’ she wrote.

HEALTH+FITNESS is not a number on the scale, a dress size or even your appearance. It's not about being as fit, strong, skinny or muscly as someone else. It is however about choosing to make a commitment to eat nourishing foods, move your body and live a balanced lifestyle so you can be the best, most healthy version of yourself. One that is mentally sound, can chase around after your kiddies and one that is doing everything in their power to ensure they stay around for the long haul. Being healthy and fit is not about looking good for the attention or praise of others (which I feel has become way too much of the focus in this industry these days) but should be about looking after your body and mind. And above all for a mother it should be about ensuring you are the best role model to your child so they to grow up and appreciate their body enough to look after it too. Always remember there are little eyes watching your every move! Will you move your body tomorrow or at all this week? #rolemodel #health #postpartumbody wearing: @ninaandco.au 👌🏼

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‘Pregnancy was meant to be the most happy, exciting time of my life and a time where I was meant to be connecting with my unborn baby. But for me it wasn’t.’

At 37 weeks, two weeks before her scheduled delivery, her daughter Milena was born by cesarean on September 23, 2015.

‘When he [the obstetrician] told me it was time, I felt this sense of relief,’ she said of the birth. This is going to be over, this sickness will be over, I can move on with my life. When I held her, and heard her cry for the first time, it’s a feeling I can’t describe, it was the most amazing feeling in the world.’

POSTPARTUM FITNESS| your body has just been through an absolutely life changing experience , it's just stretched and grown for nearly 10 months to grow a human, it's not as tight as it used to be and you may feel wobbly not only in your tummy but in all of your joints. You can't run,lift or move like before, your abdominals are weak and usually separated and sometimes you feel like or you may even wee a little (or a lot) when you cough, sneeze, laugh or at the thought of exercise. All of these normal physical changes have occurred on top of the absolutely massive amount of hormonal changes, mental challenges of pregnancy and motherhood PLUS the sheer exhaustion of being a new mum. So I get it, I totally get it why exercise would be the last thing you want to know about or feel like doing & it probably felt or still feels like you would never feel "normal" again. BUT by taking the right precautions, practicing safe exercise, doing your Kegels every day, easing back in to exercise, moving your body and also listening to it you can make changes, feel stronger and help improve your mental state, aid to help with sleep deprivation not to mention also repair the damage to your pelvic floor. You can feel like yourself again and hell you may even feel like the best version of you because now you are the best version of you – you're a Mum and that's pretty amazing! 💙 Wearing: @arelibyrikkilee

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By the end of her pregnancy, Brittany was relieved to be able to eat without feeling sick and wanted to make sure her daughter didn’t suffer from the same anxieties as her.

‘Towards the end of my pregnancy I remember thinking I need to change to make sure my daughter never feels the way I feel about my body. I made it my goal every single day to change my mind and change my thinking.

‘And after going through nearly nine months of hell, I appreciate my body and what it’s done and what it’s achieved.’