I WISH I COULD start this story in a way that would make me look good — the watchful mother, aware
and attuned to the fact that her daughter was in danger. I wish I could describe a wake-up moment
— at the beach, or in a department store dressing room — when I suddenly noticed my daughter’s
stick-thin arms, her shoulder blades jutting out unnaturally beneath the straps of her tank top. I
wish I could say that it was I who made that call to the doctor or therapist, asking for help the minute
things began to go wrong.
But that’s not how it happened. Instead, the phone call came from the school psychologist,
reading from an email Serena had written to a friend. In it, Serena described in stark terms her
deep despair over a battle with anorexia that had been going on for more than a year, since well
before the start of high school.
A call from the school psychologist finally revealed
the problem that was too close for this Marin
mom to see. Many other families are facing similar
struggles with dangerous eating disorders.
BY MELANIE HAIKEN • ILLUSTRATION BY MARINA MUUN
L A ST
KN O W