This article stemmed from a cooking workshop/presentation at Warren Hospital in Phillipsburg, N.J. It occurred almost ten years ago. The host was the executive chef of the hospital, Mike DiCenso. At the time, gluten-free cooking, Celiac disease, gluten intolerance and the connection between gluten and autism/sensory disorders was not quite as mainstream a conversation as it is now.
I pulled this article out of deep storage. The information in it remains pertinent, if not more relevant than it was a decade ago.
Sometimes the stories we write as journalists don’t develop with the depth or the complexity that we would like. We face deadlines. We have limits to our sources. Sometimes, we touch on something sensitive that we don’t know exactly how to handle it. One such case I wrote involved a family living with HIV; another was this one, about a group of women who gathered as an eating disorder support group.
This story is not my best written, and I apologize for the cut on the bottom of the scan. I worked hard to provide enough of a voice that various people could connect to these women, but not enough information as to identify them. That is a challenge. Let’s face it. The world stereotypes and judges people and these women had a strength and a willingness to make a difference. They hoped, as I hoped, that their story would help any other women facing similar issues, doubts or feelings of inadequacy.
I don’t know if it helped anyone. I don’t know if it made anyone stop and think. It certainly didn’t change any societal perceptions, but I hope that maybe it touched one person who needed it.
Eating Disorder Support Group
I clearly remember leaving the office on my due date to visit the obstetrician. I had been 4 cm dilated and significantly effaced since my birthday, a good three weeks earlier. In the newsroom, at meetings and at interviews, my heavily pregnant self made people nervous. I asked my obstetrician when I should stop working. He looked at me and, once he recovered from the shock that I was still in the office, suggested I not return.
That was June 10. My daughter came into this world on June 23, thanks to some hearty doses of Pitocin to hurry her along. Any first-time parent will tell you, those first six-to-eight weeks are “baby boot camp,” grueling, exhausting and testing your limits. I can’t speak on second babies. I only had one.
As a good reporter, I tried to recycle some of my personal experience into copy. Plus, I learned a lot of information as a new parent that I never knew before, or perhaps thought about things I never thought about before I had a baby.
Breastfeeding was one of these topics. I felt like no one really talked about it. I was born premature and didn’t come out of the hospital for three months so my mother never breastfed. I felt lost and figured if I felt lost, so did others.
My editor allowed me to do a lengthy two-part series on breastfeeding. This is part one.
Breastfeeding, part 1
Breastfeeding, part 2