Update on My Daughter’s Eating

Coincidentally, my 10-year old daughter’s belly started hurting the same day that I came down with the 101 fever, upset stomach, aches, etc. My husband, who was leaving for his trip in a few hours, had to go pick my daughter up from school becuase she went to the nurse saying her belly hurt. The nurse said she looked fine, had no fever and no diarrhea or vomitting other “evidence” of being sick, but because she kept coming back to the nurse my husband went and picked her up at 11 am.

After being home for a few hours, it was pretty clear by the way she was acting that she was fine, which was great.

The next day, she said after breakfast that her belly was bothering her again. Well, I was on my own at this point and didn’t have the strength to fight her. She is a good student and rarely misses school, so against my instincts that told me she wasn’t sick, I allowed her to stay home, telling her she was definitely going back to school the following day. Once again, her behavior showed me that she wasn’t sick – a few hours later she was cleaning the playroom like a whirlwind then horsing around with her little brother when he came home from school. So while I was glad she was fine, I was certainly annoyed intrigued by her behavior of ditching school.

The really concerning part in all this is that she was following my lead and not eating very much during the whole week that I was sick. If you happened to have read my other blogs – THIS, THAT and THIS, you can see why this behavior would alarm me.

The problem is, is that there are 101 reasons why she would say that her belly was hurting her – a slight virus, her mom having an eating disorder and all that entails, anxiety over something at school (which she has a history of), her wanting to be like her mommy who was sick, peer pressure to be thin, things she sees on tv, the list is endless. Unfortunately, she is not one of those children who is wide open with her thoughts and feelings, so trying to gently pry answers out of her is like trying to get gold out of Fort Knox.

The other night, my husband took the kids to an evening function at her school. They had a limited dinner menu, but there was stuff that she liked. She ate nada, nothing. She claimed her stomach was bothering her. He basically had to force her just to drink a half bottle of water over the course of the night. Needless to say, this behavior was the straw that broke the camel’s back so to speak with her eating over the past week or so.

Before doing anything rash, my husband and I had a long talk about the situation and I called the pediatrician just to touch base. The doctor said to just observe her and if my daughter continues to not eat as much as normal, saying her stomach is bothering her, then I need to let her know we are concerned and suggest that we go back to the doctor. I even told the doctor that if I do end up bringing her in, perhaps I should leave the exam room, that maybe my daughter will open up to the doctor if I’m not there. So we’ll see what happens. I can’t help but feel guilty that most of this is my fault, from her watching my disordered eating, and all that she takes in that I’m not even aware of. I pray that I’m not passing some form of an eating disorder down to her.

One Day at a Time... Nurture myself... Awareness... Letting Go... Listen to my Body

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8 Responses, Leave a Reply
  1. Michelle@Eatingjourney
    30 January 2010, 7:53 pm

    My prayer is that you let go of any guilt that you have, that you continue to heal yourself and that you show your daughter the power and strength that you have inside of yourself.

    Perhaps it’s something to speak to your pysch about again, how the two of you can cook together (idea only) and/or form a relationship with eachother which enables you to heal and become close to your daughter in the ways which you are feeling that she’s pulling away.

    BY no means..am I saying that you’re not close and/or that you’re not doing a good job.

    Just ideas. Be gentle on yourself. Be kind to yourself. Let go of any guilt. You’re teaming up with your husband who is being supportive. You’re starting a united front with this. Now it’s also about the two of you, but remember that you also have to be strong.

    Peace, prayers and hugs. M


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks for your prayers and suggestions, michelle. it’s hard to let go of the guilt, but like anything that has to do with food in my life, it’s just another thing i have to work on every day. often the task seems overwhelming. i feel bad that i’ve created a food-issue household due to my sickness. it’s hard not to feel bad about that. but you are right, i need to be gentle on myself and i’m blessed to have a wonderful partner in my husband, who is a “normal” eater, to help her/us through this.


  2. jackie callahan
    30 January 2010, 7:57 pm

    I went through a similar scare with all three of my kids, not because they were too thin, but because they all went through a rather extended chubby period. Although inside, I was really scared that I had passed on my affliction of compulsive eating , I never made a comment to any of them about their bodies. Because I had been so scarred by intrusive comments that had been made about my body at that age (10-12) I was extremely committed to keeping my mouth shut. However your situation may require a different approach.Being chubby is not as serious as not getting enough nutrients. But I think the more we are able to model healthy eating habits, and a joyous relationship with healthy food, the better their chances of of having that, as well. Good luck!


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    parenting can be so hard, jackie. you do your best based on your own experiences and hope to heck you did the right thing. it sounds likes you handled your children very well. we try to model good behaviors, but you never know what your kids are absorbing and of course there are all the outside influences as well, like school and the tv.


  3. Holly
    01 February 2010, 9:35 am

    This is one of my biggest fears. I know, I know…first I have to have kids. 😉 My sister worries about this, as well (she had an ED for several years, and still struggles). Her daughter is five and while my sister is VERY careful not to say anything like, “I feel fat,” or “I can’t eat that,” I think kids are so intuitive and pick up on our actions more than anything. I wonder about it, too, since I usually refuse dessert (because I’m STUFFED!) after family dinners – I make a very concerted effort to not make any comments on my guilt over what I ate, etc. But we are HUMAN. I suppose we just do the best we can, and hope we set a good enough example. I think most people with EDs probably fear this, I just wish there were a way to avoid the guilt!


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    hi holly,
    i do the same thing – never asking if i look fat, or making any negative references to my body, etc., but like you said, these kids are sponges and lord only know what they are aborbing just from our actions! it’s nerve wracking!


  4. Jess
    07 February 2010, 3:13 pm

    Are you talking to your therapist about this worry? Maybe if the therapist can help you and mediate this conversation with her, she will understand why you get scared.

    I worry about the pressure on my 11-year-old son, and it’s nothing compared to the pressure on girls. What’s sad is that the boys don’t care.

    It is women who do this to women. We drive this whole mania by giving in to the fashion world. These people are airbrushed and photoshopped until they’re nothing like they actually are.

    I hope that she sees this sooner than later. And it may not be you giving her the food issues–her peers may already have taken over and her longing to be accepted may be driving this.

    My best suggestion is to talk to your therapist and see what he can do to help you broach the subject. Living with this kind of fear and worry can’t be good for you, and I know it’s been an issue for a while now.


    love2eatinpa Reply:

    thanks and you are right. i have brought this up to him. between that, getting a kick in the pants by someone in a simlar situation, i’m going to do what you told me a long time ago – talk to her about it. it’s a tough world out there for women and i need to explain that and me to her so she does not get sucked in.


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