My Daughter’s Anorexia: Happy Mothers Day to Me


Dear Readers,

Today is Mother’s Day in USA. I wish all the Mother’s a Very Happy Mothering Sunday. Thank you for all you do for us. We can never repay the debt in our lifetime. I pay standing ovation to Mothers who stand by their daughters like a pillar of support and strength. Without their support and love this war against eating disorder will be difficult to win.


I thank this great mother (I cannot name her) for her support for my blog. You shared the pain of your daughter’s illness on my blog  (My Daughter’s Anorexia) and in doing so you shared the pain of many mothers who struggle with their daughter’s illness.

Thank you for coming forward and submitting this piece of writing for my blog.

She tells me she hates me and everyone. Why can’t I let her live her life (this means let her die an anorexic death). I look at her, a girl, a woman nearing her 30s. She’s stuck in her late teen years and refuses  to break out of this dark world of Eating Disorder. Today I made a forbidden mistake of getting her on the scales. She wasn’t prepared. My fears took a shape of reality as I looked at the low low number on the scale. My migraine is building up. She throws a tantrum forgetting we are visitors in my daughter’s in laws house. I look at my youngest child, she shouldn’t be shocked, bewildered by such outburst, but she is. She’s visibly upset.

I want to tell her, can’t you see what has happened since you’ve been ill my daughter? Look at my nest, it had four beautiful birds, but now it’s all empty. Only, me you, Ana and your Absentee Father live here now. All your siblings, younger then you have fled this nest. They all are married living in far far away lands, America, Australia. Can’t you see my child how you and Ana made me neglect my other babies? At one time we wanted to show you, your a special girl, but no matter how hard we tried, you pushed us away. Everyone has given up, but I can’t give up on you, your my first born.


I try desperately now to connect with my other babies, but there’s a distance between us. Your youngest sister got married in winter. A winter land wedding, we called it. We are in America, visiting her, she’s given us glad tidings, you’ll be aunt and I’ll be Grandmother soon. A third Grandchild of the family. How unfortunate are the two of us, we never get to spend time with them, we never get to delight ourselves in their purity, in their innocence.

I look at this poem. Every time, I am challenged by your illness. I read this poem. This is Second Mother’s Day we are celebrating this year. Last Mother’s Day, your brother was home. We celebrated but you didn’t join us. I came home tired that night and found the evidence of your behavior. I checked for your pulse, your heart and breathed a sigh of relief, your alive. You shouldn’t be using this behaviour, it’s dangerous for your heart, but every time I turn my back around, you use this behaviour.

At least your illness has made me turn to God. Night and Day I turn to him now. I went to Fez last year and knocked on every door I could have, for your healing for your pain to end. You were in safe hands, in hospital with doctors.

The Kairaouine Mosque is the main mosque in Fes. Built between 859 and 862, the mosque is completely surrounded by buildings, belying the fact that it can hold over 20,000 people. Non-Muslims cannot enter, but we peeked through one of its many doors on a surrounding alley. The university inside is one of the most respected institutions for Muslim learning in the entire world, and has one of the finest libraries in the Muslim world. There are typically over 300 students in residence. In the distance are the Merenid Tombs atop the hill.

This Mother’s Day, I pray for your recovery, I pray for you to stop measuring your worth by the numbers on scale, I pray for you to live the life you deserve to live, but mostly, I pray for you to stop hurting yourself.

Happy Mother’s Day to Me.

For My Daughter

From Set My Heart on Fire:  A Collection of Sufi Poems by Shahbano Aliani

i loved you
i was conscious of anything
before i dreamt of you
thought of you
wanted you
or held you,
in every way i knew how:
the way
i had been loved
the way i had not been loved
the way i wished
i had been loved
the fullness
and the void
of love i had known
or yearned for
over lifetime and ages
all poured into
my love for you
i loved you
with ferocity
and whole heartedness
unspeakable joy
and unbearable torment
as only one
who gives birth
can love
her child.

11th December 2011- from Set My Heart on Fire.