Besides getting the HMS diagnosis (fitting hEDS criteria) when I was 14 and then not having it get treated as relevant to even other joint problems? One reblog reminded me of more fun when I was younger.
Unlike that writer, I really did develop a restrictive ED. Especially on top of the unrecognized celiac, that was not great for the general state of my health for a while. To put it rather mildly. (And yeah, I think some damage done then has been continuing to catch up with me, which is a slightly different story.)
The ED did get diagnosed. But, besides basically getting some kind of recovery going eventually in spite of the treatment? The classic health problems from starvation got put off on depression and anxiety. Not even kidding. They knew I was dealing with an ED, and obvious complications from that were still all in my head. Because silly teen girl.
It just didn’t get treated like a physically dangerous problem at all. Presumably because my BMI never dipped under 20 or so, but who the hell knows. ETA: That also still looks pretty scary with my frame, which was what got my family flipping out.
(Basically the same thing also happened later, after I finally got the celiac dx at around 30. With the guaranteed malnutrition complications to go along with that. I’ve had literally zero followup under the NHS, and consistently got predictable complications brushed off. Some of them pretty alarming and, yes, dangerous as hell.)
But yeah, that’s just one of the reasons I do not feel safe even mentioning the ED in medical settings. Not even to try to get them to back the fuck off with triggering it. I have been shown plenty of reason not to trust them around any perceived mental health problems. And I know good and well that I’m far from the only person with experiences like that.
I work at a daycare with infants.
One of our baby girls is fat, in the 99th percentile for her age. She is super cute and sweet. Lately, she has been sick with various breathing issues, so she has been reluctant to take her bottles. Normally, she’ll take 4 ounces of formula at lunch and 8 ounces in the afternoon. Today, I was lucky to get to her take 5 all day.
There was a substitute covering a lunch break in my classroom today. We emphasized to her that we need to keep trying to get the baby to drink her bottle until she finished it. She said, “Why are you guys so worried about taking her bottle?”
My coworker replied, “That’s where all her nutrients are. She needs the nutrients and the water.”
To which the substitute replied, “But she’s so fat. She doesn’t need it.”
Thin privilege is a small, pretty baby getting better childcare because the caretaker doesn’t think she’s too fat to be allowed to eat.
This reminds me of a cousin of mine who ended up with her kids being taken away from her by social services for a number of reasons but mostly for nearly killing her baby daughter. How?
By starving her. She insisted that her baby was ‘too fat’ and had an aim to remove any and all ‘chubbyness’ so her baby would be thin. She’d already been warned by her doctor about the baby not getting enough food, but insisted she knew best.
After several months of this her baby passed out cold one day and was rushed into hospital where the doctors found her to have severe malnutrition, a low body temperature and low pulse rate. They asked my cousin what she’d been feeding her daughter and she said “one bottle of skimmed milk a day. I don’t want her growing up fat.”
Even after nearly killing her daughter my cousin maintained her view that fat = bad and ended up with all her kids taken from her because she was starving them and neglecting them.
When your fatphobia leads you to starving your own children then you’ve got serious problems.
(Note. She still, to this day, maintains the view that she was right and the doctors were wrong. “They just want fat kids so they can keep employed treating them for all those diseases that being fat causes.” = her actual words.)
My mom had me dieting with her when I was eleven. She had me eating less than 600 calories a day because she was worried I was going to “get huge.” She even grounded me once because she found out my friends were bringing me lunches! I ended up passing out, going to the ER, and getting two IVs at once BC I was so goddamn dehydrated. Soooooo surprised they didn’t call child services… And looking back, this was the root of my anorexia. I’m nearly 22 and still fighting it. Please don’t starve your fucking children.
For fucks sake babies are SUPPOSED to be fat, what is wrong with people? It’s just stored energy, and growing children need stored energy – an 11 year old is just about to hit some major growing years. Damn.
and it kills
This is no joke. people will literally starve their own babies cause they don’t want them getting fat. A parent brought in their six month old baby who was having breathing issues and kept getting sick. the parent was asked if the baby was eating regularly and the parent straight up told the doctor that they only feed the baby once a day. ONCE A DAY. A FUCKING BABY. they even had the nerve to say because they didn’t want the baby to get fat. people like this are real. they would rather have a dead baby than a fat one.
My youngest son is a very big boy and has been since he was born. When he was 10 months old I took him for his well-baby check and vaccinations. The nurse noted his weight and said, quite casually, “He is in the 99th percentile for weight so he is at risk for obesity. You may want to keep an eye on that.” I said, “He is exclusively breastfed. He refuses to eat any solids yet.” What did she expect me to do? What would it mean to “keep an eye on” an exclusively breastfed baby’s weight?
She backed off saying, ‘Well he looks fine!” – proving once again that weight bias is not truly about health – But I know many other parents who are not as informed as I am about weight science and size diversity would react to this interaction by policing their child’s food intake, if not as an infant, then when he was an older child. This is exactly the type of seemingly-inconsequential interaction that starts the ball rolling on a lifetime of dieting, disordered eating, negative body image, and weight-based abuse for too many fat people.
Years later when he was five, another doctor measured his weight and height and commented that he is off the charts on both, but “at least he is in proportion.” And if he was not “in proportion,” I am sure I would have been advised once again to “watch his weight.”
I no longer allow healthcare providers to weight my children unless it is absolutely medically necessary. They are unable to control their weight talk, which is a known harm for children.
We need to completely eliminate weight talk from medicine, especially when it comes to children. Even the smallest exposure can have terrible consequences.
A friend from college had been going to the doctor because she was having trouble breathing. She was told to lose weight.
Over the course of several years, she went back to the doctors time and time again, telling them that she’d been sticking to the diet but because of her breathing problems she had been unable to even walk for more than 20 minutes at a time.
The doctor got her into an exercise programme and told her that she just needed to really try to lose weight because that was clearly the reason for her breathing problems.
By the time they found the tumour on her lungs, it was inoperable. She only lived three months after diagnosis. She was 25.
She’d had the tumour for over five years.
The doctor was so focused on the fact that my friend was “fat”, that they refused to look for any underlying cause.
They killed her.
Weight-first treatment KILLS. Fatphobia KILLS.
I have 2 scary stories to share about fatphobic doctors & parents harming their childs/patients’ health:
1. The 4 years old daughter of a friend of mine came to our house to spend the weekend. She gave me a letter from her mom that said that the child was in a glutenfree diet because she was getting ‘awfully fat’ when eating cookies or bread (my celiac ass; who gets dhiarrea and loses a scary amount of weight whenever I eat something with gluten was like ’???’).
You can bet that I went to the supermarket with the kid and told her ‘go & take whatever you feel like eating’ and the poor child came back smiling with her arms full of biscuits and cupcakes.
She didn’t got sick (as a celiac would get) and told me later that she hated the diet her mother made her follow; because her cousins didn’t had to pass through that.
And what’s the scariest thing about this story? Her mother was a NURSE. A fucking nurse who didn’t have a clue of the harm that she was doing to her daughter’s body!
2. My little sister started to feel fatigued and dizzy at 9 years old. She felt nauseated at the sight of food and had abdominal pain that increased with physical activity.
Mom got her to the ER and the doctor dismissed it saying: ‘she’s fat and probably is feeling ill after eating too much burgers, get her to make some exercise and she will be better in no time’.My mom didn’t felt ok with the diagnosis and took my sister with a second doctor who also told her that ‘the child was just fat’.
My sister’s skin was starting to get yellow as the days passed and the abdominal pain was getting awful so my mom (heaven bless her!) got her to the ER for the third time:
SHE HAD STAGE 4 HEPATITIS AND WAS ABOUT TO DIE.
She survived after a long and painful recovery who involved being in bed for a whole year (remember that we’re speaking of a 9 years old child). Luckily they saved her liver and she didn’t went through a transplant… but let this sink:
If it weren’t for my mother, fatphobia would have killed her. Fatphobia kills kids and teenagers, fatphobia kills inocent people everyday. It treats human beings as lesser than others and hurts them in their most vulnerable times.
It’s a real shame that we all have so much stories to share about this issue. A REAL SHAME.
Future doctors, interns, and residents following me:
FUCKING TAKE NOTE OF THIS!
Don’t let bias against your fat patients kill them!
(#and this is just when we actually go to the doctor and tell them we have problems #how many of us just give up #or won’t mention anything that seems like too much of a ‘fat’ problem)
Molly the service dog is gone & buried. I ask that people donate to Piss on Pity: The Story of ADAPT in her memory. Molly helped me navigate this world in this disabled body; ADAPT’s work, both past and present, has changed (and is changing) the world to help my and other’s disabled bodies navigate more easily. Even a couple of bucks towards this project helps them make this film, which will bring more attention to and support for National ADAPT and their various chapters. And through that, Molly’s impact on our world can continue to do good. Please consider supporting this in her name, or out of your own good will. Thank you.
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