A mother’s perspective: insights and experience gained in supporting my daughter in her recovery

Eating disorders are not well understood, isolating, frustrating, and painful. And that goes for the person who has it as well as the people who love and support that person. When a child develops an eating disorder, parents can easily become overwhelmed by treatment, fear, and frustration. It can help to hear stories from other parents who have gone through the recovery process.

This eBook was written to provide a mother’s perspective of her daughter’s eating disorder recovery. This eBook is provided courtesy of Recovered Living, a recovery coaching service that, from this mother’s perspective, was a critical element of her daughter’s recovery from an eating disorder.

A mother's perspective - insights and experience gained in supporting my daughter in her recovery

Following are a few excerpts from the book, but it’s well worth reading in its entirety for more details and perspective.

What I learned about recovery

“(To me) owning recovery involves eating, feeling emotions, building relationships and participating in life – everything an ED denies.”

“My daughter was told that recovery is harder than she could imagine … and supporting her in her recovery has been so much harder than I imagined, too. I can see why those who recover can accomplish anything they choose in life because I think I could tackle most things now and I’m only the support person.”

“My daughter initially struggled until she found a recovery coach who stated outright that becoming fully recovered was possible. For her, the knowledge of being able to recover was the foundation to her decision to commit fully to recovery, but even then the pull of the ED was still very, very strong.”

“Learning to own recovery includes allowing feelings to be felt; good and bad.”

“Real recovery comes from being able to emotionally step back in life; a life the ED is accustomed to numbing them from.”

My own relationship with food & weight

“I previously thought I had a good relationship with food, but I was silently a watcher of my weight and a dieter, although I never openly dieted or talked about my weight. I hadn’t realized that my own self-esteem was tied to the size of my clothing.”

“… for me, addressing my own issues around food, body image, and weight has been crucial.”

“Eating what I want, doing what I want, and being me, without judgment based food eaten and what the bathroom scales say, is freedom – just like I want for my daughter.”

“I could never imagine going back to how I was before, which is how so many other mothers I know live. The sense of freedom is very liberating.”

Walking on eggshells

“I have never walked on so many eggshells in my life since an ED took up residence in our home!”

“… no one told me we did not need to walk on eggshells. Only after we found her recovery coach did I learn that this behavior was actually the ED exerting control over the whole family …”

“If an ED had its way, it would zip everyone’s lips. Talking can help draw my daughter our and temporarily away from her ED because she can’t withdraw and be present in a conversation at the same time.”

Siblings and friends

“It has been tough on (her brother) and early in her recovery he did ask a few times if he was ever going to get his sister back.”

“… there aren’t many teenage girls who have the fortitude, maturity or innate wisdom to stand by a friend when an ED is pushing them away.”

“… for my daughter, a big part of her second half of recovery has been about building new friendships and connecting with people who contribute to her growth and joy.”

What I learned about treatment

“Recovery involves learning and learning leads to growth. (This is) why having a recovery coach specialized in ED recovery has been vital for my daughter, as no one else could provide this type of expertise.”

“My experience shows a person in ED support needs to be specialized in the area, not dabble in it as part of their job description, because ED work is a career path that has chosen them and not the other way around. Having a recovery coach or therapist who has recovered themselves is also a prerequisite in my opinion …”

“I joined a Facebook group set up to help mothers navigate recovery, but within a couple of months I realized it was more harmful than helpful because the group embraced a victim and sympathy mentality which I likened to a “stagnant pond” environment where nothing positive could grow from.”

“Fortunately my daughter’s recovery coach offers her own online support group and this makes a real difference. It is free to attend and has been gold.”

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