Sunday, 7 May 2017

Something's been bugging me all weekend...

Of course I can never, ever expect to read every fellow parent's blog about eating disorders. The same goes for any books they may publish or articles they may write. But I do know why I, and the other blogging mums who I know, do it. To raise awareness of eating disorders (in my case that boys get eating disorders) and to help other parents identify symptoms, get speedy help and to find support from other parents who've 'been there, got through it'.

No other reason. 

We could do other things - go shopping, go out with friends, do hobbies or further our careers, etc etc - but we choose to raise awareness for the simple reason that we don't want other families to go through what we went through.

It's also why parents give their time to found, run or mentor on forums like the Around The Dinner Table and its parent site F.E.A.S.T.

We are not scientists. Many of us are not health professionals. But we are parents and in the main, when it comes to blogging, we are mothers.

As mothers it is our natural animal instinct to do anything, even walk on hot coals - or worse, to save our child's life.

Unless you are a mother, you could never understand this powerful instinct.

And because we don't want other mothers (and fathers) to go through this experience... or at least to get through it faster... we blog to raise awareness, to help parents identify eating disorder symptoms and get speedy, evidence-based treatment as well as much-needed parental support.

Having a child with an eating disorder can be a very frightening and lonely place to be for the parent. And I, for one, don't want other parents to feel as isolated and terrified as I did.

If, in some way, my blog - and my books - help another family, then it's all been worth while. And I imagine it's the same for may other parents who blog, write, give talks, appear on the TV or radio, etc.

I am not crazy and I do not believe I am to blame for my son's eating disorder - and my son would wholeheartedly agree. He has ALWAYS said that I was a great mother, all through his life and especially throughout his eating disorder. As he was about to leave for university in 2012 he gave me a card which said: "Thank you for being the one who never gave up." It brought more than a few tears to my eyes...

So why has this been bugging me all weekend?

I know that everyone's experience of an eating disorder is different. I also know that families are different and that there are good and bad parents. But, having read something a few days ago, I wanted to stand up for mothers who blog about eating disorders along with mothers who write books about eating disorders and mothers who give their time and energy to support other mums who are going through this terrifying experience.

And fathers, too.

Meanwhile we parents keep our eyes and ears open for any new research on eating disorders. We read the science stuff. We watch other families as they attempt to find the right treatment model for their child. We keep abreast of any advances and so on.

Added to this is our own experience. And, during this experience, we were learning. We were cramming up on the science and making informed choices. We were listening to experts speak at conferences. And we still are.

But our primary purpose as 'mummy bloggers' is to do our bit to raise awareness of eating disorders, to help other parents to know that they're not alone and to get speedy help.

And on the way we may find it cathartic to blog - an attempt to 'make sense' of the eating disorder and to process it in our mind. 

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