In pregnancy, writer Judy Tsuei found herself confronting the eating disorder she’d recovered from and her Chinese-American upbringing—and in the process, rebirthing herself as the kind of mother her daughter would need her to be.
Judy Tsuei | Longreads | September 2016 | 14 minutes (3571 words)
“140 pounds,” my midwife announces with a smile. “That’s a healthy starting point for your height.”
Even in recovery after fifteen years battling bulimia and compulsive overeating, the word “healthy” still feels like a euphemism for “fat.”
“You’re at nine weeks today,” she continues, talking to me while typing notes into her laptop. “How’s the morning sickness? Are you experiencing any nausea?”
Before I can answer, I make a rapid gesture and then run to the bathroom. I barely have time to lock the door behind me before dropping to my knees in front of the toilet. My stomach retches. I start gagging. Sweat seeps from every pore of my body.
Please, I plead with myself. I don’t want to do this. Please. Please. Please.
I lean over the toilet, gasping. I can’t stop it from happening. My breath comes in rapid gallops between moments of vomiting saliva, mucus, and water. I haven’t been able to eat all day, so there’s no food to purge.
More gasps. More heaving.
After a few minutes, I sink onto the familiar coolness of tiles beneath my shins. Kneeling. Praying.
Five years ago, I made a vow never to purge again. But, in preparing for a new life to form, I have to meet my old one head-on.Continue reading “Birth—and Rebirth—after Bulimia”