Twenty years later she weighs 725 lbs., and weight loss surgery is her best hope

By Julie Mazziotta
Updated February 17, 2016 04:45 PM
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At age six, Ashley Bratcher went through something no one should have to deal with – she was repeatedly molested by her babysitter’s husband. Now, twenty years later, and weighing 725 lbs., Bratcher is still suffering from the consequences.

“I felt like I had no one to protect me, so I turned to food to deal with it all,” she says in this exclusive clip from Wednesday’s episode of My 600-lb Life.

Bratcher, 26, explains that after her parents divorced when she was five, her mom took custody of Bratcher and her siblings, but her mom was never around due to a drug addition.

“If my mother had been paying attention I think she could’ve changed a lot of stuff that was going on,” Bratcher says. “But as the oldest one, I felt like I had to protect my brother and sister because they were really little. So I let it happen to me, so it wouldn’t happen to them.”

“My mom essentially chose drugs and that lifestyle over watching her kids grow up,” she continues. “So I developed my own addition, mine was just with food.”

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At age eight, things finally changed for Bratcher when her mom dropped her and her siblings off with their dad, Tommy. Her mom didn’t return for 13 years.

“From then on, my dad raised me, and I felt safer with him,” she explains. “But I still didn’t understand – how could a mom just throw away her kids? And food was still there to help me deal with that pain, so I kept eating.”

“Ashley’s eating habits were not like normal habits, she would eat enormous amounts of food, and she just got larger and larger,” Tommy recalls.

By the time she graduated from high school, Ashley weighed over 400 lbs., and she kept gaining, hitting 570 lbs. after the birth of her son Patrick.

These days, at 725 lbs., she can’t stand for longer than five minutes at a time, and is dependent on 5-year-old Patrick to handle household chores like laundry.

“Without him, I’d be lost,” she says.

Bratcher is hoping that weight loss surgery can save her life, and ensure that Patrick will grow up with his mother around.

My 600-lb Life airs Wednesday nights at 9/8c on TLC.