I starved my baby to stay thin. Woman Magazine

Found this article in another mag, have nothing to say for myself so thought I would share this as its not a magazine that every reader would have heard of.




Zoe Hepburn, 6, spent years battling eating disorders, even when she fell pregnant.


At eight months pregnant, I lay in bed, my hand resting on my bump, but it wasn’t the baby I felt, it was my hunger  gnawing away at me.

As my baby stirred, I was overwhelmed with guilt.I hated myself for starving my unborn child, but id got used to treating my body like this. I’d suffered from eating disorders since I was 14.

A shy teenager with no self-esteem, I’d not eat to feel in control, and then binge when I lost that control. Even when I had bones sticking out. I heard a voice inside telling me “you’re too fat”.

But when I married Rob, now 37, and fell pregnant with Theo in 2002, I ate well for the first time in years, going from 8st to 10st.

Meeting my beautiful 6lb 12oz baby boy filled me with happiness. He was all I thought about. But a few weeks later, I saw myself pushing the pram past a shop window and I didn’t like the figure in the reflection.

“You’re not losing the weight,” a voice inside said. It was back. I was so pleased when I dropped from 10st to 9st 7lb in three weeks. But a few weeks later, Rob and I started chatting about our family. We’d always dreamt of having two children, so we tried again. When the pregnancy test was positive, I saw Rob’s face beam. And I beamed back, ecstatic.

But before long, I was thinking negative thoughts. I’d put on 2st with Theo. If I put that on again, I’d be fat.

I’d never felt so stressed in my life. I had a nine-month-old baby, we were in the middle of moving house and now I was pregnant again. In an attempt to feel in control, I ate less. A piece of bread or a bowl of steamed veg was a meal. My bump grew but I didn’t put on an ounce. When Rob tried to serve up big plates of food, I’d lie. “I’ve eaten already,” I’d say or “I don’t feel well.”

I was terrified that I’d damage my baby, but I needed to be in control and that meant not eating. At each check-up, the midwife had no idea what I was doing to myself, she’d just send me away promising everything was fine. When I mentioned that I hadn’t put on any weight, she just laughed. “You won’t have to worry about losing it afterwards! And you look fantastic,” she said. I wanted help – for someone to realise I had a problem. I knew it was anorexia. I just couldn’t admit it to anyone else.

Then 24 weeks into my pregnancy, it got too much. “I’m having trouble eating,” I said to the doctor, looking at the floor. “Keep your energy up with high-calorie foods,” he said. I’d gone unnoticed again.

When I went into labour in February 2004, I convinced myself my baby would be dead. When I heard Barnaby’s cries, I couldn’t believe it. He was 5lb 8oz – small but perfect, despite what his mum had done to him.

I decided I was despicable and punished myself with starvation. Two months after Barnaby was born, I weighed just over 7st – unbelievable for someone who had just had a baby. Still, I continued on starving myself down to 5st 7lb. All I felt was hunger.

Finally, someone noticed. At a check-up my GP referred me to an eating disorder clinic. “I’m going because of my lack of appetite,” I told Rob, too ashamed to tell him the truth, that I could’ve hurt our baby.


The therapist gave me the truth. “If you don’t eat, you’ll be in hospital in weeks,” he warned. I couldn’t bear to be seperated from my children. So twice a week I would go for cognitive behavioural therapy to break my destructive hbehaviour. As I got better, I told Rob the truth.  “We’ll get through this together,” he reassured me.

After two years, I was a slim but healthy 7st 7lb. Since then i’ve lost half a stone through running around after Theo, now five, and Barnaby, four.


I’m so lucky I didn’t hurt my baby. There must be so many women like me. But I’ve learnt how to deal with my problems in a healthy way.



* If you’re suffering from an eating disorder, contact B-eat helpline on 08456 341 414 or go to B-eat.co.uk


Article from Womans Magazine


~ by twistsis on August 17, 2008.

5 Responses to “I starved my baby to stay thin. Woman Magazine”

  1. Being pregnant was the only reason that I’d allow myself to be ‘fat’… but after reading this… what if I do the same thing??
    I’m glad I’m not looking to get pregnant any time soon.. I’d probably be a mess.

    Thank you for sharing this!!!!!

  2. Until I reached the conclusion of this article, I found myself highly annoyed by the author. Motherhood is sacred. You are given a sacred trust to care for your young when you are pregnant. To starve yourself and to threaten the health of a child is the ultimate in self-absorption. Period. If a woman does not have the maturity to make healthy decisions for a child when she is pregnant, she will not make healthy decisions for that child after it is born.

    Mothers like MissA, on this site, show constant self-denial for the love of their children. And that’s what motherhood requires.

    If you don’t feel like you are in an emotional state to care for the life of a baby, even if it requires a personal sacrifice, then don’t get pregnant. Please.

  3. I think as a mother and a person who has suffered from an ED I can personally relate to the woman who wrote this article. I can see how it would be easy for someone who has never had an ED to be angry with her. When I first started posting on the blog, I had reservations about telling others that I have children for fear of being judged. I still don’t know what many think about it, but that doesn’t matter. I do the best I can do and that is what is important. Becoming pregnant was not an instant cure for me. It is not like you can wake up one day and decide “Well, I’m pregnant. I guess I’ll just get over this whole eating disorder thing.” For me it was the threat of hospitalization when I was pregnant the first time that made me seek help. I was lucky enough to have an OB who was not going to play games with me and I was able to find a wonderful therapist. In the end I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy, 8lb 13oz baby. When I got pregnant the second time I was the healthiest I have ever been as an adult. Although I was over-exercising, I was eating properly and was at a healthy weight. After nine months I was blessed with a beautiful, healthy, 7lb 15 oz baby.

    I kind of feel sorry for this woman. If her doctors had paid attention to the signs and really listened to her, she may have been able to get the help she needed. I don’t know many doctors who would not be concerned if a pregnant woman was not gaining weight or was losing weight. Now she must live with the guilt she feels for what she did while she was pregnant.

    Motherhood takes many sacrafices, large and small. It is the most rewarding and the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life. My journey has not been perfect, but I has been worth it. I fight every day to stay healthy for my children. I hope that someday I will not have to fight any more. I hope that staying healthy will become second nature. Until that day arrives, I will keep fighting for myself and for my children.

  4. MissA,

    Thanks for your post. I guess what really bugged me was that any woman about to have a child would have such a childish outlook. The “notice me, notice me” vibe that she expressed was really annoying to me.

    The thing that I have always gotten from you is that you DO put your children ahead of your struggle. You work a tough job because it allows you to give the time to the boys. You try to go back to school to give them a better life. THAT, my friend, is motherhood. Not “Notice me. Notice me.” That woman just screamed insecurity and I felt really badly for kids.

  5. Hi MrsB. I think the problem with reading this story is that it can evoke different emotions with different people because you can not hear the writer express how she was feeling. While you got the vibe of “notice me, I need attention”, I got the vibe that she was trying to say “notice me, I need help.” That is the problem with reading it. We can’t hear her voice, so we don’t really know what emotion she was expressing.

    I agree that she does sound insecure. Insecurity, self-absorbtation, and selfishness tend to go hand-in-hand with EDs don’t you think? Those are things a woman has to be willing to give up when she is pregnant. She has to be willing to give her body over to this little baby that is growing inside of her and needs her to survive. That’s not always an easy thing to do, but it is well worth it.

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