To Those Who Are Mothers of A Child with an Eating Disorder

By: Valerie Foster
Mother is a single, solitary place to be when one’s daughter stops eating. My daughter’s plummet into the murky world of anorexia hit when she was seventeen. While Jenna was a minor, I could make a lot of the decisions, and early intervention was vitally helpful. But once she turned eighteen, I could not. And that was key to both our recoveries, I believe. I had to learn that while I was doing all of the “dancing" with this demon, the song was hers. In the process, she learned that she sat at the helm of her health. As a writing teacher, I returned to my old practice of journaling, which kept me grounded. My daughter was doing the same, and wrote her way out! During my self-study of this disease, I also learned the importance of drowning out the Negative Mind, and began writing my daughter love letters. Not newsy letters, or discussing the situation, just unconditional letters of love. It was easy. Soon I was getting letters from her. We continue this today. By the way, we can all write these to ourselves, too! An eating disorder is a thinking disorder, and it affects one’s entire family, whether parents, or siblings, or children, or spouses. So, it’s important that their voices be heard, and that they are involved in learning and participating in treatment. My daughter has been fully recovered for over ten years. Neither of us takes that for granted. I know she may be in the minority, but it does happen! There is always, always reason to hope!
Valerie Foster is an educator, public speaker, and author of Dancing with a Demon, her inspiring and hopeful story of fighting to save her daughter from anorexia. You can find more out about her at