This feeling of guilt and shame is precisely the subject of PhD candidate Kristine Rrtveit's study. As there is very little qualitative research on how mothers with eating difficulties perceive their daily lives, Rrtveit's article -- built on in-depth interviews with eight informants -- presents a rare insight into this problem.
The women talk about their bad conscience for living a double life, how they devalue themselves as mothers, and how they live in constant fear of transferring their illness to their children. Eating difficulties often kick in with full force when their children grow up, and often in connection with meals.
One informant talks about her feelings of anxiety associated with eating, and how hard it is to keep calm while sitting at the dinner table with her child.
Another says she pretends to be eating, only to throw up at first chance. Still another says she is too exhausted to be able to participate in her children's everyday life. Sometimes she only manages to utter one-syllable words, such as "yes", "no" and "good night".
Difficult daughter's wedding
An informant told how her problems haunted her even into her daughter's adult life:
"I couldn't take part in her wedding, because I was too trapped in my own system. Everyone else was full of emotions and expectations, but I was completely the opposite," the woman said.
Rrtveit has produced two further research articles, based on group conversations with five informants.
The first article describes how women with eating difficulties balance mental vulnerability and strength. One the one hand, they are pleased with the way they manage to keep up appearances and live a seemingly normal life. One the other hand, this double life is draining a lot of strength.
"Like doing drugs"
The second article describes the women's feeli
|Contact: Leiv Gunnar Lie|
University of Stavanger