The singer says it was her "biggest challenge" during her pregnancy.
The American Idol alum shared her struggles on a recent episode of Dr. Berlin's Informed Pregnancy Podcast.
"I had a long history of having issues with food and body image," she said. She remembers worrying about her weight as far back as middle school, eventually entering a vicious cycle of restricting and bingeing food. By the end of her high school years, however, McPhee began working with a therapist who helped her take control. That process took years, and the 36-year-old explained that for many, the issues don't fully go away. Instead, they can pop up again and again. For McPhee, that's unfortunately what happened during her pregnancy.
"Feeling like there was a relapse after getting pregnant was really shocking and upsetting and concerning for me, because I was suddenly so obsessed with food, starting from this first trimester," she revealed.
"I had such a distortion of the way that I looked." That fixation on food led McPhee to question where the impulse was coming from: was it her body asking for necessary nutrients, or was it something more worrisome? "You're like, 'Is this just the eating-disorder version of me or is this actually my body?'... Suddenly, the cues felt really different, and I didn't know how to interpret them," she explained.
McPhee decided to seek help to answer those questions, getting in touch with a psychiatrist that she'd previously worked with. That doctor told her something important: it's very common for women who have struggled with eating disorders in the past to find themselves struggling again once they get pregnant. That revelation helped McPhee cope. "It made me feel so much better that I wasn't alone in that headspace," she said. And luckily, with that professional help, McPhee was feeling better by the time she hit the second trimester.
For any mom-to-be dealing with food or body images during pregnancy, getting help is exactly the right thing to do. The March of Dimes encourages expecting mamas to tell their doctor right away so they can help you come up with a plan for a happy and healthy pregnancy. As McPhee proves, while it may not be easy, it is absolutely something you can overcome during pregnancy.
- What new mothers need: Permission to rest - Motherly ›
- # 1: Pregnancy and self-care - Motherly ›
- Motherly's pregnancy and birth podcast ›
- From our partners ›