Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Flying Solo

With such a long gap until Waif's next appointment at the Maudsley,  everyday eating is like cycling without stabilisers for the first time.  You know that feeling you get the first time you go on a Motorway after passing your driving test?  Despite the fact you felt confident approaching the slip road, somehow once on the road it feels scary - there is no escape and HOW fast exactly is that lorry coming up behind you going?  It takes grit not to panic.

I took Waif to the gym yesterday, as is our wont on Mondays.  I settled for a swim as I had run 13 miles on Sunday so was having a rest day.  She set off for the running machine at 5.30pm.  "See you about 6 here in the changing rooms" was my parting comment.

At 6, I got out of the sauna (honestly, I had swum first) and headed for the showers.  No Waif.  Ho hum, she will be here soon.  6.05  no Waif.  6.10  no Waif and I had nearly finished drying my hair.  6.15 no Waif....oh well, she had some earphones to buy first so perhaps she had a delayed start, or maybe she has bumped into a friend.  At 6.20, just as I was considering heading up to the weights area to look for her, she finally appeared, looking exhausted.  She told me that she had gone for a long session on the running machine "because we haven't been to the gym recently."    Hmmm.......   she was then too full to finish her plate of supper noodles and/or to eat pudding, and refused a bed time snack because we had run out of cheddar cheese.  It occurred to me that I also didn't know if she had eaten an after school snack as she had gone straight from school to her art lesson before I picked her up for the gym.

I try not to worry on the basis of one day, after all a run once a week is healthy and as far as I know she ate a good breakfast and a reasonable lunch but it does feel odd and scary allowing her so much control of her own and seeing her missing food on her menu.  I have suggested to her that she ought to weigh herself weekly to check that she is still putting on weight and on track for her current target of 51.5kg which is, after all, 4kg more than where she is now.  I am reluctant to intervene or try to wrest back too much control as I know that when she is 15 or 16 years old that will not be possible and she has to learn to eat sensibly on her own.  It feels like the first day I let her walk to school alone across the park (aged 8, with her older sister, aged 10, in charge).

Meanwhile, whilst tidying her room, I came across an old diary from when she was 12, with a list of calorie and weight loss goals  :-(    She had made herself a star chart grid.  She was aiming at being only 36kg  :-(  I wonder if I should talk to her about that, or keep it, or bin it.


  1. It must be such an uncertain and anxious place to be in, not really knowing exactly what the future holds. You are right not to freak about one day though, but just remain aware of it. If you push too hard she might begin hiding things (like not telling you that she actually did run for that long at the gym) but if you don't remain aware of what's going on her health could be in jeopardy again. It's such a fine line to walk. I admire you as a mother dealing with this with such gentleness as you have. In my family I am the one with anorexia and it's often hard for me to realize just what my mother goes through on a daily basis too...reading your words help me.

    In terms of the diary, as long as it's an old thing maybe don't bring it up? I have diaries with weight loss goals in them from a long time ago too and I know if my mother found it and brought it out now to talk about, it would upset me. Just because I haven't written in it for so long and because it would feel like I was being lectured for something in the past. If she is still writing in it though, maybe you could show it to her doctors? I'm sure if something felt urgent they could get you in before your next scheduled appointment.

    Stay strong and keep loving and fighting for your daughter as you have been for so long. She is SO lucky to have you as her mother! : )


  2. Thank you, Sarah. You are wise and I did not mention the diary. I do hope that you too are keeping well. Hope x