Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Postcards from Paris

Mainly texts actually.  Sigh, Waif was cheerful on the phone last night until I asked her if she was eating properly, then she sulked so we talked again later when she was more cheerful.

Then this morning I had a text asking if I could arrange an earlier flight home as she was feeling left out.  Then an hour ago she sent me another saying that actually it was all ok.

Having talked to a neighbour who has herself struggled with anorexia when she was young,and whose advice I value, I decided to mention something to the french family about Waif's eating.  I did NOT want to tell them about her anorexia or the Maudsley firstly because that would put too much of a burden on them and secondly because Waif would be embarrassed.   But my friend said that she had lost loads of weight on her french exchange when she was 14 and that I had to tell the family tl let me know if Waif was not eating.  So I mentioned to our friend (the aunt) when she phoned, that I wanted to be sure that Waif ate enough as she has a tendency to be too thin.

Anyway, 5 mins ago I got a cross text from Waif saying "What was that about letting me do it on my own?  You told them".  Unsatisfactorily, by text back, I countered that I had only said that I didn't want her losing weight because I love her and she has done so well and I promised that I had not mentioned AN or the Maudsley (I hadn't) and ended with "that's okay, isn't it?".  To which she replied "no".    :-(    Sigh, this is tricky but I hope I trod the line about right.  Perhaps I should have given Waif carte blanche to fail on eating but I don't feel happy letting go that much until she has a few pounds between her and anorexia.  The french family certainly don't know about all her snacks and needing 3,000 calories a day.  I hope this doesn't spoil her holiday and her ability to relax into the family.  Perhaps I got it all wrong.


  1. A response to this and your other FX posts....

    You are never wrong - there are no rules, you are doing your absolute best for Waif and it was an impossible decision for you - I'm suprised the Maudsley couldn't have been more help advising you. You deserve suppport. What does your husband think about her returning?

    I think it is clear Waif will be losing weight - if she is not getting 3000 calories she will lose (unless a very gradual reduction - anorexics need an incredible amount of calories to maintain after gaining generally, especially so young). Your neighbour is right.

    Let your instinct guide you - you have done so well for Waif so far...don't let all your hard work be wasted. Waif can return to France again...if she is embarrased to leave early surely a white lie could save any reference to anorexia...

    Personally I can't remember much of my school exchange 13 years on it was not a significant part of my life - Waif will have so many new experiences when she is well so don't worry if she comes home early.

    You should be so proud of the energy, thought and time you give your daughter.She will thank you in years to come.

  2. I went to camp and lived with a whole dorm of normal-eating girls but I still managed to eat way too little since I was away from home. I think you made the right decision and there is a chance that she really will loose too much weight on this french exchange. You only know how much you should trust your daughter to eat by herself, but if she hasn't shown much motivation to eat enough, it could be something to really worry about. You're such a great mother, and Waif is so lucky to have you because you understand this much better than most parents. I wish my parents took my eating disorder as seriously as you take your daughter's. Good luck and I hope everything turns out alright.

  3. Anonymous, thank you for your help and support. I will keep you posted.

    Vanilla, I bet your parents DO take your eating disorder as seriously but are struggling with how best to help you and/or how to express that. I am so lucky to have been able to take a year off work to devote to Waif and to have time to read a lot about the subject - not everyone has that luxury. Anyway, Waif probably doesn't think I am doing as good a job as others say because she sees me equally on days when I am not paying enough attention because I am deeply fallible.

    I love your blog btw and think it is great you are keeping one and able to tap into advice, just as I find the same with mine. It is also helpful for parents like me to see how the children might be feeling and the (sometimes strange) thoughts in their heads - oh, only strange as in someone thinking they might be fat when they so clearly are skinny, and the delusion that they might look better - as opposed to more ill - if they were to lose more weight. Sigh, that must make it a real struggle.