By: Tracy Bagnato
I struggled with anorexia and bulimia for ten years before seeking treatment. I had lost myself over the course of that ten years to an inanimate object. I wasn’t living for Tracy, I was living for something I would never achieve…perfection, or what I thought was perfection. My struggles continued through college and into my marriage.
I do not know what changed in the winter of 2016, but I do know I recognized that I needed help. I sat on the couch crying hysterically and called my husband to tell him how badly I was struggling. Within weeks, I was on a plane to a treatment center to get my life back.
I spent 57 days in treatment at Remuda Ranch, and I could not be more thankful. During my time in treatment I dealt with my trauma, learned how to love myself and how to nourish my body - recognizing that food is not the enemy. I was finally able to reconnect with Tracy and who I am as a person.
Treatment was the hardest thing I had ever done up to that point in my life. I truly learned a lot about myself and about my relationship with food. I told myself that it would be the one and only time I would go to treatment, which still stands true to this day.
I certainly had many ups and downs. Upon leaving treatment, I had some slips and a relapse, but each time I picked myself back up and continued on my journey. I was able to do this with a strong support system: my husband, dietician and therapist.
Last July, I got my first real period in years - I never knew I’d be so happy to have it! Even when I was on the pill to regulate my periods, I wasn’t getting it because of my eating disorder.
My husband and I had talked about having a family for a while, and I wavered back and forth between wanting kids and not being so sure. My ghosts were haunting me. I didn’t know if I would be able to have children so I covered it by saying I didn’t know if I wanted any.
Well, all it took was that one period, and the next month I was pregnant! We welcomed our baby girl on May 14th, 2018 (just shy of a Mother’s Day baby). The months leading up to her birth were the most amazing months.
While in treatment, I tried to utilize the skill of loving my body for what it did and not what it looked like. This tactic worked on occasion, but I finally embraced my body for what it could do during my pregnancy. The road to recovery is not linear, but I do know that after experiencing one of life’s most cherished gifts, relapse is not on my agenda.
The body of a woman is an amazing thing. Our bodies were made to carry and grow a human life. For nine months, only I could nourish and grow her, and now that she is here, not only do I need to stay in recovery to have the energy to care for her, I want to be the role model she deserves.
When I start to have any self-doubt, body image struggles, or feelings of relapse, I will remember how amazing I am, how amazing my body is, and that I was born with a purpose.
Tracy has been happily married for six years to her husband Stefan. She is a new mom to a little girl, Giuliana, and a mom to two cats and a rabbit! Tracy is a Youth Services Librarian in North Carolina and loves reading, coffee and the color pink.