You were born such a healthy weight and such a beautiful baby, with perfect olive skin, a mop of beautiful brown hair and a rosebud mouth. I loved you just the way you were.
As you grew into a toddler, your beauty increased and so did your happiness and love for food, you ate everything I put on your plate, you weren’t a fussy eater at all. I still loved you just the way you were.
Age 10-14 years, your beauty increased, you had so much personality and your eyes were so bright, you loved life, loved your friends, loved going out for dinner, especially the deserts. We used to talk for hours, we laughed so much our bellies hurt, We would dance around the room singing ‘Ain’t no mountain’, by Marvin Gaye, that was our song and like I always sang to you, there ain’t no mountain high, enough to keep me from getting to you. I loved those years and I still loved you just the way you were.
Age 15 was when I noticed a change, a slight change at first, but a change all the same. your eyes weren’t as bright and your appetite was lost. You didn’t want to go out and eat and our days of fun and laughter turned into quiet nights for me, wondering what I had done wrong, but I still loved you just the way you were.
Another year passed, you were 16 and I noticed your clothes were falling off you and I asked you what was happening, but all I got from you were grunts and dirty looks, no normal conversation.
I would make you dinner and you would hardly touch it, you stopped seeing your friends, things weren’t the same between us, I so desperately wanted to belly laugh with you again, but I had to accept that wasn’t going to happen, but you know what? I still loved you just the way you were.
Age 17 and in 6th form college was the worse year of them all, you were studying for your A levels and your weight had dropped increasingly and I knew then that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. You were eating an apple a day, that was it. I tried so hard to make you eat, I saw your body go from very slim to emaciated and it was so painful to watch. I prayed every night for a miracle and I cried so hard, I cried for the amazing daughter I had lost.
Your friends had decided that it was too hard to be around you, in a way I didn’t blame them, you made it so difficult for them, but you were left on your own, I cried a lot during that time.
We finally made an appointment at the doctors where you were weighed and the scales barely touched 5 stone. The doctors told you that you were anorexic, but still you didn’t believe it.
You were referred to an eating disorder clinic who were so worried about you, that you had to be weighed weekly and the plan was for you to gain just half an ounce a week.
It went well the first couple of weeks, feeding you milkshakes with cream in and making you eat at least one healthy meal a day, I really thought this was the start of your new beginning, I was excited…but that soon stopped. You had started losing weight again.
I had a call from the clinic saying that they needed for you to have an urgent ECG and blood tests as they were concerned that your weight was so low that you could possibly have a heart attack. I was told that you could go to sleep one night and not wake up, it was that bad. But I promised myself that I would always, no matter what, stay strong and keep fighting because I loved you just the way you were.
We were told that due to you not being able to maintain the weight gain, you were being sectioned to an eating disorder clinic for 6 months…. oh how you cried. I had to stay strong, but I was dying inside knowing that my little girl was going to be away from home fighting this battle without me and I was only allowed to visit once a week.
You begged me to talk to them, you promised you would be able to do it this time, so we scheduled a meeting and took both your nans along to fight your case. I fought it so hard because I believed you could do it. They believed us too as you were able to stay at home.
Things improved with your weight, you reached 7 stone, but your mood became worse, you wouldn’t even talk to me after that. You would eat in your bedroom (or so I thought, how naive was I) we couldn’t discuss anything, you looked at me as if I was scum and I started questioning myself… What have I done wrong? Is this my fault? because I had split from your dad around the time it all started. I hated myself, I beat myself up every day, but continued to stay calm, I knew I had to support you and I was going to do that with everything I had. I said good morning and I love you every single day and you just ignored me, I wasn’t able to come into the kitchen when you were making your fruit, because you would scowl at me and ask me if I was spying on you…..I wasn’t.
It got to the point where we wasn’t talking anymore and that hurt, my beautiful perfect funny bright little girl who belly laughed and danced around the room was gone. I resigned myself to the fact that our relationship was over, I knew that you were facing some really bad times and that you were neither strong mentally or physically…. Neither was I, but I was able to fight this battle with you.
You are now 21, you can no longer be sectioned without your agreement and I can no longer discuss your situation with anyone as I’ve had to harden myself to it. If anyone tries to talk about it, I shut them off, because If I start crying, I don’t think I will ever stop.
Darling there’s one more thing I want to say. I will never give up on you, I will continue to fight this disease with you until my dying breath and I pray to god that one day you will beat it, because you are better than that disease and you are strong and brave and have me and I will love you more every day for being just the way you are. Lets kick eating disorders arse!!
And I said to my body, softly: “I want to be your friend”. It took a long breath and replied “I have been waiting my whole life for this”.