As they approach their tenth year of marriage this year, Camila Coelho and her husband Icaro are facing their biggest challenge yet together.
In the latest issue of PEOPLE, the 31-year-old influencer and fashion designer opens up for the first time about her epilepsy diagnosis — and how it’s impacting her dream to welcome a baby in the near future.
“I’ve always wanted to be a mom. I come from a huge family, and I dream of the belly, breastfeeding, all of that,” says the Brazilian-born Coelho, who fell in love with Icaro when she was 17.
Diagnosed when she was 9, Coelho has been on medication for more than 20 years. But while her seizures are currently under control, her medication can increase the chances of birth defects.
Going off the medication, meanwhile, could cause a seizure that risks both her life and the baby’s.
For all the details on Camila Coelho’s struggle with epilepsy and how she’s finding strength by sharing her story, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. And to hear more from Coelho in her first television interview, tune in to CBS This Morning on International Epilepsy Day (Feb. 10).
“I knew that when it was time, I would need to plan [the pregnancy] because I take medicine,” she says. “My neurologist in Brazil, my neurologist in the U.S., even my gynecologist would tell me, ‘Camila, you really need to be off the medicine, so prepare yourself. Get your body cleaned from the medicine and then start trying.'”
But after moving to Los Angeles last year from Boston, Coelho’s new neurologist recommended that she stay on medication while trying to get pregnant.
“I was in shock. He told me, ‘If you’re clean from it and have a seizure, you can lose your baby. You can hurt your health.’ But what if my child is born and there’s a problem? I would feel so guilty. It’s the hardest decision of my life and very scary, but I know that I just need to have faith.”
Camila Coelho Gives Contour and Blend Demo Live on PEOPLE Now
When Coelho first began thinking about going public with her health struggles more than a year ago, she says it was Icaro who assuaged her fears — and now they remain united as they weigh their options.
“I was scared for him to say, ‘Oh, I don’t think you should share,’ but he supported me right away,” says Coelho of Icaro’s encouragement. “I know I can trust him. He always wants the best for me.”
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