I see posts about ARFID parents being upset by negative comments, lack of support by friends and family, and doctors not understanding what they are going through. I'm here to tell you this, "Don't go there."
I understand you fully. I've been there and still am there.
When my son was much younger and ARFID was not yet an acronym, I watched my son suffer as a therapist force fed him food. I watched him cry and beg for food at the cupboard while his tummy grumbled because I was told to not feed him his preferred foods until he ate something new. I had one therapist try to misdiagnose my son with Autism so that they could explain why the therapy wasn't working. I watched him kick and scream as he was carried into therapy. I was told my son was the "most challenging" feeding clinic patient they have ever had at one clinic. I too have seen those comments at the end of the ARFID articles written by people that don't understand and trust me, smoke came out of my ears. I even had practitioners look at me like this was my fault. One doctor even started to fall asleep as I explained ARFID to him. I cried and felt like crap most days. The list is endless.
Then one day, I decided to ditch the negativity.
I decided that if I was going to have a child with ARFID, then he was going to be the happiest ARFID child there is and I was going to be happy too. I let go of the need to try to make people understand this. It just isn't explainable. There are people that have opinions even when they are not qualified to be making them - so let them, but don't engage. Just tune out, it's not your job to make people understand. Don't get angry, because that is engaging. I know you think this is hard, but it's not. It's all where you choose to focus. If you focus on the problem, then that is where all of your energy goes. If you focus on the solution, then that is where all of your energy goes. You can't focus on both at the same time. It isn't possible. You can't be positive when you are feeling negative.
As ARFID parents, we have very little power over the ARFID. But, we do have power over what we choose to focus on. So, I challenge you to deliberately focus on the positive and by that I mean to focus on the healing. Focus on what is working for you. Focus on the successes of your child. Focus on being happy each and every day. If you currently have nothing positive related to ARFID in your life, then just focus on your beautiful child :). Let the positive thoughts flow!
If you can find peace with this today, then you will find a happier child before you and you will be happier too! It takes focus and practice. If you catch yourself going to the negative side, then just notice it and tell yourself, "I don't need this. I've got better things to focus on!"
My best to you all!
I am an ARFID Mom. I am the mother of a 12 year old boy with Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID). I have become the "expert" on my son's feeding issues. I am here to share what I've learned.