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I didn’t ask to belong nor did any of the other Moms. As we held our precious new-born baby girls there were dreams of fairy tales, dance classes, hair bows and boyfriends.  Never once did the thought of an eating disorder enter our minds.

Fast forward 8, 12, 16 or 18 years and beyond. The fairy tales have been read, dance classes attended and hair bows so delicately placed in our daughter’s hair.  We held their hands on the first day of Kindergarten, taught them about strangers and used every tool possible to protect our daughters from harms way. But then this illness crept in.

Wait! This wasn’t a part of the plan.

Some of us didn’t initially catch on. For others, the first skipped meal started the sleepless nights and endless prayers. Whether from the onset or months later, at some point each of us realized our daughters were on the slippery slope of an eating disorder.

In this alliance, not every mom has been invited to join. In fact, it is an invitation no one wants to receive! My little group is comprised of woman whom I have known since childhood, others met in the confinement of our daughter’s treatment and many are known only through emails and phones call, not yet meeting face to face.

You see, while we are scattered across the country with different histories and family dynamics our common denominator is an Eating Disorder. Some of our daughters are on the recovery side, others in the midst of the battle; with a few new ones just starting this long brutal course.

Tears have been shed and cries of anguish have gone out for not only our own daughters, but for the others in this sisterhood. The prayers and tears don’t end there; you see today, tomorrow or next week; there will be a new member.  One we have yet to meet and many who have yet to know they are going to be thrust into this fellowship.

This week is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week; you may not belong to an elite group such as I. However, statistics show that “Everybody Knows Somebody.”

Can you do our small assemblage a favor?  During this week, would you take one small step towards raising the awareness of eating disorders and body image issues?  Your one small step, with my one small step will help reduce the stigma surrounding eating disorders and improving access to treatment. After all “Everybody knows Somebody,” and who knows that “somebody” may be some one you love!

If you have a concern for yourself and/or a loved one in regards to disordered eating, an eating disorder or body image issues, the National Eating Disorder Association has a confidential, free Helpline 800-931-2237. Call for help and referrals!