The beautiful Bella Shearhart and her daughters Adelyn (5), Camile (2) and Elliot (4.5 months).
During her teen years, from about 15-17, Bella battled disordered eating that was a result of her struggle with body image. Therapy, groups and nutrition counseling were able to help her find her way to recovery but she says that it is motherhood that has provided the most healing. Bella found herself pregnant for the first time at 18 but had a miscarriage soon after. This was a pivotal moment for her and she realized that her body was struggling more due to her eatting disorder than she had realized. It was then she decided to turn things around and she has found that while pregnant she is able to move away from much of her inner dialogue in favor of doing what is best for her baby.
Both Adelyn and Camile arrived vaginally at 38 weeks, Adelyn after induction and Camile on her own accord without complication. Elliot's pregnancy was the most difficult for Bella and she found herself in a lot more pain than she had with her older daughters. She went into preterm labor at 33 weeks but was able to hold on and ultimately delivered Elliot at 35 weeks. Elliot was very healthy and was able to stay with Bella despite her early arrival.
Breastfeeding has gone well for Bella and her girls. Adelyn nursed for over a year and she weaned Camile when she reached her second trimester in Elliot's pregnancy. At that point Camile was still interested in nursing but she was strongly feeling like she needed a pause before the new baby arrived. She is open to nursing her youngest daughter until her first birthday or when she feels she's ready to end their breastfeeding relationship.
Bella says she doesn't think that she will ever be over her eating disorder but she's in a place where she has control of it rather than it having control of her. She isn't binging or purging anymore and when she has thoughts of restricting or negative self talk she's able to push them away. She jokes that the reason she has three children at 24 is because she does so much better this side of things. She hopes that as her daughters grow she can continue to provide them with an example of a healthy mother with a positive self image. She realizes that as girls, growing up in today's society they too may struggle but she hopes that her experience, growth and triumph with guide them through it.