When You're 16 & Pregnant and Anorexic

Last night's special 90-minute installment of the show featured Kayla, a 17-year-old whose eating disorder caused her to rush to the ER after she began having contractions at 31 weeks, brought on by not eating. Kayla had been diagnosed with anorexia when she was 13 after being hospitalized for the disease. Throughout the episode, Kayla repeatedly alluded to feeling fat and mentioned that she cried every time she looked in the mirror. She worried if her arms were jiggling and would cover her stomach with a pillow whenever possible. She intentionally skipped meals—sometimes for an entire day at a time—and rarely remembered to take her prenatal vitamins. Worried about her body, she asked her mother if it was OK to lose weight during pregnancy even though, by her due date, she'd only gained 16 lbs.

While many of Kayla's issues did revolve around food and body image, it also seemed that by putting her dieting ahead of her baby's healthy she was unwittingly perpetuating the cycle of neglect she experienced with her mother, who had also been a teen mom. Kayla's mom is never around, yet asks for rent, lets the heat shut of in the middle of winter without making sure Kayla and the baby are OK and at one point said, "I want you to understand that I have a life too and at 17 years old you do not have to be around your mom 24/7." And just when you thought that woman couldn't get any worse, about a week after Kayla gave birth, she asked her teenage daughter with an eating disorder to go on a diet with her.


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