This mum spent 10 years fighting her issues with food. She thought she’d won. But then her children noticed this.
I don’t believe that my mother had any influence at all upon my eating disorder. It simply wasn’t a factor in my 10-year struggle with food. She was there and supported me and loved me. She wasn’t a cause. She wasn’t a factor. She wasn’t a reason.
It is something I keep telling myself in my own fears about my relationship with my daughter. I reassure myself and yet I still worry. I had a decade long fight with food that really only ended when I fell pregnant with my first-born son.
There was time spent in eating disorder units. There were counsellors. There was lots and lots of talking and reading and searches for cures. There were hours of daily exercise and violent purges. There were gentle reminders from my bosses that I needed to look after myself.
There was one, two, three personal trainers at a time. None of whom knew about each other. And there were the gyms – the responsible ones who cancelled my membership for fear of a liability on their hands. They were dark days. And yet I held down a career, and started a family and then sometime, somehow it ended.
I am not sure what finally shifted but I know I was one of the lucky ones. When I had two boys at first I felt a sigh of relief. I would never have to worry about their relationship with food, I thought.
The irony was that one person I was particularly close to in my first treatment ward was a young teenage boy who used to make me laugh with his stories of hiding food, and secret exercise and wild tricks he would play on the nurses.He showed me the fire stairs we could run up and down to exercise and the tricks at supper to disguise the biscuits.
"My boys will be fine," I told myself when they were born. "Boys are different". I can see now how self-deceiving that line of reasoning was. But it’s what my mind told me. And then I had my daughter. An amber-haired version of her brothers. Alike in so many ways. And yet a girl. I was afraid, I admit, of a girl. I don’t want my daughter to waste the number of years I did. To do the things I did. To feel those feelings. To inhibit those corridors of her mind. But I put it to one side as she grew from a baby to a toddler.