!! TRIGGER WARNING: CONTENT CONTAINS INFORMATION ABOUT AN EATING DISORDER !!
My name is Daisy Webster. I’m 27 years old and a proud mummy to 7-month-old Louie. I still can’t quite believe that I am a mummy! I was always referred to as the “drunk auntie” and I guess that was something I accepted: that I’d only ever be an “auntie”.
At 14 years old, I was put on the contraceptive pill for skin issues. All I cared about was clear skin at the time. I did not anticipate the depression that was waiting for me. I still believe the pill led to an extreme battle with my mental health that reared its head horrifically for the first time during my GCSE’s. I felt a severe amount of pressure to be “the best at everything” and it was all too much for me. I felt sad, low, and lifeless, so much so, that I didn’t eat a lot. I didn’t eat anything, in fact.
I was hooked on not eating and things went from bad to worse quickly. I lost over 2 stone (28lbs or 12.7kg) in a matter of months and I was in deep waters with my now diagnosed anorexia. I went from outpatient to inpatient. I spent time in a facility for mentally ill adolescents. You can’t even imagine the things I have seen. I had no periods. I was very bluntly told by a doctor that I wouldn’t have children and if I didn’t eat I would die. All of the information the medical professionals were telling me just seemed pathetic and untrue.
After trying many antidepressants, having thousands of therapy sessions, and with a ton of determination to get my life to where people were telling me it “should be”, I ate my way back into recovery. After a solid year of no menstruation, it finally happened: the periods came back. So I thought, ‘this means I can fall pregnant right?’.
By this point, I was in my early twenties. I imagined I’d never be able to fall pregnant and it broke my heart every single day. My sister fell pregnant and my friends were having babies. My partner and I spoke about having children. It never happened and every month I came on, without really saying anything to anyone, it was a mini stab to the heart.
My partner of 4 years and I separated for 9 months during 2020. We then rekindled our relationship and 8 weeks later, I had the worst stomachache I had ever had. It was so bad that I called 111 and she asked me, “is there any chance you’re pregnant?” I thought, ‘no, there’s no way’. Fast forward 24 hours, I did a pregnancy test and there it was: I was 3-4 weeks pregnant!
There was no doubt about it, this was a blessing, an angel sent maybe? It was something the universe knew we needed – knew I needed. We weren’t prepared, but who the hell is? My pregnancy was so good to me and it was the best I’d ever felt in my whole entire life. However, my thoughts and feelings around my body were a challenge. I was getting big and I couldn’t really accept that. But, I had no choice. I had to be healthy for my baby.
WHAT OR WHO GAVE YOU THE STRENGTH TO OVERCOME YOUR BATTLE WITH ANOREXIA? DO YOU THINK IT WAS YOUR DESIRE TO BECOME A MUM?
It was when I realized what I was doing to my family. At the time, I was so engulfed by the illness that unfortunately, I wasn’t actually aware of what was going on. All I wanted to be was skinny. That’s all I wanted. But there was no such thing as skinny enough. My grandad to whom I’m very close, said, “if you put on a pound, I’ll give you 100 pound.” So I did, and then I lost two pound after.
I became very devious, which wasn’t me at all. That’s how the illness made me. You become someone that you are not. And I think that’s why people used to get so angry with me, to a point where my dad actually broke down out of pure distress. We were in Mexico and I wouldn’t eat a thing and he said, “if you don’t eat, you’re on the next flight home!”
People were so frustrated with me, but I was so ill. If someone said to me, “you look well or you look good,” I heard, “you look fat”. And I still struggle to this day. If I’m completely honest I have struggled with both my pregnant and postpartum body.
But the whole time I knew if I wanted to lead both a healthy life and have a baby, then I had to be a healthy weight. So yes, I guess deep down it was also my desire to become a mum. I always had that in the back of my head.
I WANTED TO ASK YOU, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO OTHER GIRLS WHO MAY BE SUFFERING WITH ANOREXIA WHO WANT TO BECOME A MUM?
My current advice to any young girl that is having a bad relationship with food is: social media is all fake!
Fortunately when I was sick, we didn’t have social media. So I didn’t have the pressure of seeing what other women looked like.
Another piece of advice is: you only get one body. I have had to pay the price for what I’ve done to my body. It’s like how a car needs fuel to go. If a car doesn’t have fuel, it’s not going to work. Without fuel, you’re not going to go, you’re not going to move, you’re not going to be able to feel good. Basically, you’re not going to be able to do anything when you have nothing inside of you. I’ve had to suffer the consequences of what I did to my body with the aches, the pains, and never having very good bowel movements. Sorry! But there were so many years where I abused laxatives. Any trick in the book, I’ve done it.
To anyone suffering: you’re not on your own! Remember that your body is so precious, your body is your home. You can move house, you can move relationship, you can move to the other side of the world, but you can never escape your own body. I tried for so many years to escape my own body to be someone else, to change my body until I actually thought, ‘no! This is it. This is me. I’ve tried to be skinny, that doesn’t make me happy. I’ve been a bit bigger, that doesn’t make me happy.’ The main thing is, is to accept things that you cannot change. Accept who you are. You are going to have flaws. You are going to have stretch marks. You are going to be be a bit bigger or a bit smaller than what you want, but you’re you and you only get one body and you must look after it!
HOW HAVE YOU CHANGED AS A PERSON SINCE BECOMING A MUM?
I’ve definitely changed since becoming a mum. I think my priority list has been flipped upside down. I’ve always liked nice things and going to nice places. Obviously, now it’s not as easy to do those things or go to those places. And you can’t just pop out. You actually have to plan things ahead. Getting out of the house is not as easy as it was before. But obviously that’s what comes with having a baby because you’re no longer number one, they’re number one.
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MUM, DAISY?
I just remember looking at him as soon as I’d given birth and being like, ‘oh my god, this is what I’m made to do. I’m made to be this little boy’s mom.’ And as he has gotten older, and he has gotten bigger, the best thing is to just watch his little personality grow and I love the fact that he is the happiest little boy. And I get told that this is because he must be in a happy environment. He’s in a happy home. He’s around a lot of people that encourage him to do more things and encourage him to laugh. So for me, that is the best thing about being a mum, having a little baby that is clearly happy and loved. He’s nine months old and he’s already got a massive zest for life. So definitely, for me being a mom and watching your baby’s character…you’re in awe of them a little bit. Well, I’m definitely in awe of him.
What products could… DAISY WEBSTER not parent without?
And now the Fisher Price standing table called ‘Like a Boss’. He sits in it. It’s like a little office so you’ve got a little computer, a little coffee cart, little sellotape, a little tissue box, a calendar, and he loves it. He has loved it since he was old enough to stand in it. But it also helps if you just want to get things done.