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“I was hesitant to share my story. But I hope that by doing so, other women coping with pregnancy and a troubled relationship with food will feel less isolated.”
-Courtney Hoover Kelly, Wallingford, Pa.
My eating disorder started taking hold when I was 16. My symptomatic behaviors have always been restricting calories and over-exercising, things that seemed easier to control when life seemed otherwise out of control.
When I found out I was pregnant at age 30, I knew I had to get a handle on my disorder in order for me to have the family I had always dreamed of having.
An expectant mother is supposed to feel glorious, glowing and excited. But for someone with such a long history of body image concerns, food obsessions and exercise fixations, the 40 weeks of pregnancy are filled with anxieties that interfere with those happy “storybook” pregnancy moments.
Thankfully, just knowing I was pregnant and having a life form inside of me really helped me make progress. I learned to strive for a healthy balance—neither over-exercising nor restricting calories in an unhealthy way. The more open conversations I had with my doctors, the better I felt about changing and relaxing the “rules” I had placed upon myself. I realized it was no longer just about me and my rules—there was another person in the picture now. I had to give up some control to my developing baby.
I was blessed with a healthy baby boy, but even today, I struggle to quiet my disordered thinking.