On moving on

Throughout our children's recoveries we work toward the day we are "normal" again. Most families find that normal a different one than the one they left. Our family's new normal was a better one. Less stressed, humbler, and frequently moved to tears by the breathtaking normal of having well children and living outside the crisis zone.

There have always been brave parents who became activists after outcomes are not good - chronic disability or death. Other activists seek answers after ambiguous results: less than full recovery, lingering mental health issues, and quite often: eating disorder recovery but at the cost of family estrangement.

The history of poor outcomes and blaming and marginalizing parents during treatment has led to generations of chastised, ashamed, alienated parents. It is my hope that the message of parent advocacy will change as more of us with happier outcomes step forward. What I hear from the researchers and top clinicians is that a strong parent movement is the key to increased research funding, media attention, legislation, and society's view of the illness.

I applaud parents who move on - stop visiting the online forum, stop talking all the time about eating disorders. This is a healthy and natural process. But if every parent who is helped by what eating disorder advocates are doing, or wishes they were helped, hung back a little while to aid others before they move on - a lot of good can be done. A lot of good IS being done.

I'm so happy to have a large circle of parent correspondents, volunteers, and donors to help FEAST get started. We are hundreds of families hoping to help others. I am so grateful to be part of this community of fierce, wise, loving parents!


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