This is an unashamed tribute to my wife, and to all mothers, including mine (requiescat in pace).

Why do mothers understand anorexia better than we (fathers) do? How do they know so much about children’s needs and limits?

It must have something to do with carrying and nourishing the child inside you, using your body to feed the baby, before and after birth. I am in awe of the power of motherhood.

This post first came into my mind a week ago when it was the anniversary of my mother’s death (14 years, seems like yesterday). I know for sure that I did not fully appreciate everything my mother did for us, my brothers and me, and sacrificed for us until I became a parent, exactly 13 years ago tonight. The closeness of the dates will not be lost on you.

The child who is suffering from anorexia bears my mother’s name as her middle name. People say she even looks like my mother. Sometimes, I feel my mother to be very close to me. For example, before we moved to this city, when I came for the first time for a job interview, I felt she was with me the whole day and it has been a great consolation over the years that we have lived here to feel that she not only knew where we were but approved.

She is never far from me: sometimes, still, something happens and one of my first thoughts is to call her on the phone to tell her. I would have talked to her long and hard about our fight against anorexia.

Fighting talk is now the domain of my wife. It amazes me that her intuition throughout this experience has been unfailingly correct. She knew this was anorexia long before I did. She realised the severity of it, recognised the need for professional help and saw the impact it was having on our child. I could see it too, but it was like I was moving and thinking in slow motion, realising that something had fallen off the shelf while she was already moving to catch it.

Where does it come from, this women’s intuition? Why are women blessed with this? It must be well deserved pay-back for labour pains.

We are doing all right, thanks be to God. At the last weighing, our daughter had come up to 38 kilos. She is gaining steadily. There are wobbly moments when she feels she cannot eat what we have given her or that she is going to be sick, but they don’t last. A brighter attitude to food, to family, to school, to social events and to life in general, well this is lasting.

Amazing. Wonderful.

Thank God for mothers.


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