Rebecca Jones contacted me via my website Featureworld with her quirky story about how because she is anorexic she shares her seven-year-old daughter Maisy’s clothes.
When Maisy asks for a cake, her mum Rebecca doesn’t refuse. As an anorexic, Rebecca worries if she denies her daughter any food at all, she too might develop the eating disorder. This means she worries Maisy is now slightly overweight – but Rebecca would rather have her daughter that way than as she is.
And Rebecca knows only too well how dangerous anorexia can be. Just nine months ago she had to be rushed into hospital – she had starved herself so much her heart was affected. A lack of nutrients had made her heart beat terrifyingly fast. It left her with a damaged heart – and she knows she must eat better if she is to avoid this happening again. Next time, and already with a damaged heart, it could be fatal.
However, Rebecca – whose 5ft 1″ height, dress size 4 and weight of just five stones (this has earned her the nickname ‘Pixie’) finds it impossible to eat properly. She is still anorexic – she consumes a strict 900 calories a day to maintain her body as tiny as it is and ensures she does not exceed 4 grams of fat. Her diet is also liquid because she has difficulty digesting solid food.
Rebecca, 27, who ironically works as a medical secretary, became anorexic in her early teens after she tried to diet. By the time she was 17 she was seriously ill – but managed to maintain from the outside an ordinary life. She went to university and met a man. Because her periods stopped at the age of 17 and she hadn’t had any for years, she didn’t realise she could get pregnant. In fact it was only when one day lying in bed she felt something move in her stomach that she realised she could be pregnant – she rushed to the doctors to find by then she was 7 months. However, as she was anorexic throughout her pregnancy she was still wearing a size six dress.
Fortunately baby Maisy was healthy but when her daughter was small, Rebecca’s relationship with her partner broke up and she is now a single mum.
She is desperate that Maisy doesn’t follow in her footsteps. Maisy asks her mummy why she doesn’t eat and she explains that mummy isn’t well. But she realises that her worries about Maisy following in her footsteps is also a problem. She lets Maisy eat whatever she wants – so chocolate and cup cake treats – aren’t forbidden.
Rebecca is currently on the local NHS waiting list for psychiatric help for her anorexia. She is desperate to get better as she knows another situation such as ending up again in hospital could be fatal. That is her deepest fear – that her anorexia could get the better of her and leave Maisy motherless.
As well as a deal with Closer magazine, with Rebecca’s consent her story was also placed in further deals with a number of national newspapers.