Saturday, 5 November 2011

Reality Check

We went to a fireworks party tonight and a very good friend of mine (little wave to friend) confirmed to me my worst fears - Waif is looking awfully thin.  It has been half term and Waif and I have been spending lots of time at the gym, although, to be fair, she was sitting revising on Tuesday whilst I swam.  There again on Sunday she cycled there, ran 7k, then cycled home.  Meanwhile she has lots of reasons not to eat - the carrot cake has had the icing smudged, she forgot to have toast for breakfast, she has gone off all the ice creams I have in the freezer etc  I have let things slide, I realise.  I have handed over control before she is ready.  I have been wilfully blind because I DON"T WANT HER TO BE ILL.

Perhaps it is laziness?  Watching and controlling each and every meal is a chore, and Waif will cheerfully volunteer to relieve me of the burden but tonight I had a reality check:  for the first time, I had a proper conversation with a near neighbour and long time acquaintance whose daughter I knew also has had anorexia for several years.  I had drafted Near Neigbbour an email when I first found this out a few months back but never sent it for fear of intruding or upsetting her.  But tonight we both ventured onto the topic and it turns out that she knew about Waif and I knew about her 18yo daughter.  Her daughter is now attending day treatment at Bethlem and their whole family have been through the mill.  Near Neighbour gave me some strong advice that I need to take back control.  I need to cancel Waif's gym membership until she is a healthy weight and I need to take her straight back to the Maudsley.  She said to make the most of the pre 18 period and even post 18 to pull the strings that we still have - university fees etc will not be paid in the absence of a healthy weight.

I am going to start tonight - Waif is out at fireworks with some lovely school friends.  They all met earlier at our house (my hubby and I were out at a different party).  I had left lasagne and garlic bread but, on my return, discover it untouched.  I expect Waif's friends are starving!  Last night, Waif had her boyfriend round and I had left them fillet steaks and chips (well, I had left the chips in the freezer but they are 15 and 16yo so are capable of cooking) and those too had been left untouched.  i am 100% certain that BF would have wolfed them down if Waif had offered them.  I have put the lasagne in the oven and will be ensuring it is eaten when they all return.

Sigh, I am a pathetic mother because I can't for the life of me remember if Waif is about 47kg, or 37kg.  I think it must be 37kg  :-(    I have wilfully forgotten.  I need to check back in this blog and to get her on some scales tomorrow as soon as her friends leave.

I am also going to put my foot down about cycling to school.  Waif, despite protestations, and unless she can give me further and better particulars, will have to accept the lift share that is going with 2 neighbours with teenaged sons at the same school as Waif.  That way I know she is not walking to school and she can leave 30 mins later than if she were catching the bus so that there is more time for breakfast.

In my opinion, the Maudsley discharged Waif too soon - they bought my husband's insistence that he too was very thin when he was a teenager, and it hadn't done him any harm.  I expect he was thin (he was) but this was not from lack of appetite but because he grew rapidly to 6ft 4 at boarding school where food was restricted.

Near Neighbour has been participating in a research project on anorexia and has been told that there is an epigenetic link between pregnancy trauma and anorexia.  She, it turns out, was rescued from a burning house at 7 months pregnant.  My life has been more mundane but I did indeed go through a trauma of sorts when pregnant with Waif - my husband became worryingly ill (we both suspected a brain tumour) and temporarily lost the ability to talk and was about to resign his job leaving me as the sole breadwinner whereas meanwhile my employer (of whom I was the only full time married woman member of professional staff out of about 60) was disputing my right to maternity leave, pay and customary accommodation and basically told me that they did not want to employ women as my husband should keep me.  This sounds trivial but actually I had visions of being unemployed, homeless and with a baby, toddler and disabled husband.  Thankfully, everything worked out in the end but there was definitely stress.  In fact, at about 7 months pregnant, we did hit a crisis as Hubby was rushed to hospital needing emergency surgery - with me (5ft 2, petite, heavily pregnant) trying to get him (in serious pain and unable to walk unaided), together with a reluctant 2 year old, down the stairs to our flat and to the hospital as quickly as possible - the GP on the phone said I had to go to him so that he could decide whether H needed to go straight to hospital (after one look, he confirmed that H did indeed need to go straight to hospital).  The GP said point blank that he did not do home visits.  Looking back, I should have called an ambulance.  At the hospital, H was given morphine and a bed to lie on, before emergency surgery.  I was not offered a chair (it was not really about me at that point), and then collapsed.  Anyway, I wonder if there is a connection or whether everyone, if asked, could point to some traumatic event in pregnancy?

Still, the past is the past and all I care about is the future, and getting Waif back on a healthy path.  She wil be back in the next half hour so I am off to cook  :-)

1 comment:

  1. Eating disorders are cunning... I hope that you and your family can beat Waifs and get her on the road to healthy. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind....