Parenthood, Treatment and Recovery

By Beth Ayn Stansfield

Like many of you, I have a box tucked away in my closet reserved for items that hold special memories for me. On marked occasions I will rummage through that tattered box. I’m always quick to find, among other things, my daughter’s first tooth, a heartfelt love-note along with her track & field ribbons, cotillion gloves and a few photos of family and friends.

It never takes me long to notice the other things in the same box, those things that remind me of a darker time, a time when an eating disorder took up residence in our home. I have a mug that reads, “You can do this,” an engraved bracelet with the words “Make the impossible possible,” and an endless collection of colored sticky notes filled with inspirational, warrior-like quotes. No photos this time but only lingering emotions.

Fast forward: I didn’t know if my daughter would make it to her thirteenth birthday, and I certainly didn’t know if we would ever have a relationship again. But here we are today, thanks to her treatment team and faithful friends and my daughter’s determination to stay the course. I recently pulled out my memory box and slipped in a few more items: my daughter’s recovery medallion, her college graduation diploma and a note that reads, “Mom, thank you for always believing in me.”

Looking back: On the day that my daughter became a part of my world, I had no idea what the future would hold. I had no idea what I would be putting in my tattered memory box.

I’ve learned a lot as a mom since that first day when she came home with me. I imagine many of you would say the same, although I have no idea what your memory box holds or will hold. Hold on to hope. Recovery from an eating disorder is possible. I have my daughter’s recovery medallion as a reminder.  

Beth Ayn Stansfield, MEd
National Family Advocate

Written by

Beth Ayn Stansfield, M.Ed.

Beth Ayn Stansfield, M.Ed. brings a unique skill-set to her role as the National Family Advocate. She has worked with educators, students and families for over thirty-five years as an educator,…

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