I'm so excited to introduce you to Haley Hatch Freeman, author of A Future for Tomorrow, a bold and forthright book about surviving anorexia. (You can find that book review here. )
I've been trying to get Haley on here for awhile, but she's been crazy sick! First of all, she's pregnant. On top of that, she got the swine flu! Now she's recovered from everything except the pregnancy, so we finally get to do our interview!
Me: Haley, I don't want to talk a lot about your book, because the answers to that are basically all over your blog and website. So first question, from which I expect you to draw all the knowledge you've gained in your 20-something years. What do you think drives a girl to an eating disorder? Why is it so common these days as opposed to two hundred years ago? (Yeah, I know that was two questions.)
Me: What could've been done to keep you from taking that path?
Haley: I honestly don’t know what could have been done for me to have completely avoided my experience with anorexia, but there are steps that could have possibly kept me from getting into the illness that far – to the depth of near deaths. I actually just posted a list of things someone can do to help their loved one leave this behavior behind.
Anorexia is so complex that there are many triggers and many issues that need to be addressed. Everyone is individual so if you suspect a loved one is suffering they need to get help.
Me: That's the part that scares me the most. It's like each person has to decide not to let it happen to her. And she has to want help. As a mother, how will you react if you see signs of an eating disorder in your daughter? Or what will you do to prevent it?
Haley: I believe I will catch on to signs of an eating disorder extremely fast and be able to deal with the triggers before they become a serious illness. There are some prevention steps you can do as a parent, again on my blog I have those listed.
A few of the most important things for prevention are:
*Be an example. A mother who diets is more likely to have a daughter with an eating disorder.
*Teach that you don’t base an individual’s worth on their appearance.
* Help them know their divine worth as a daughter of God.
* Spend time and build trust with your child.
Me: I'm so glad you listed those. Those are so important. Enough of the serious questions. What is your favorite kind of food? Do you prefer to eat in, cook, or eat out?
Haley: I had to chuckle from the irony of the question.
Me: Yes, I like to throw in a little irony. And show everyone that you like to eat now.
Haley: My favorite food is good ole’ mashed potatoes with roast beef dinner. I don’t love cooking, but mostly we do eat in. I’m lucky to have a husband that shares the cooking responsibility.
Me: How many kids do you want?
Haley: I am pregnant with my third child now (it’s a boy!) I have a six year old son and a two year old girl. I feel completely satisfied in this being our last biological child, but I’m opened to the possibly of adoption one day.
Me: That is so awesome. I love that idea. What are you currently doing with your fluency in sign language?
Haley: I am still close to one of my best friends, Erin, who is introduced at the end of my book. She is deaf so time with her keeps my signing skills tuned. I hope to interpret again as an occupation after my children are older.
Me: I think it's just amazing how quickly you caught on to sign language. Do you teach your children?
Haley: Yes, I have taught my children sign from almost birth. There is baby sign you can teach your babies so they can communicate their needs with you before they can speak. Signing children also have higher IQs and do better in school. Both my kids know hundreds of signs.
Me: How do you keep yourself from falling back into emotional deep water? Is your husband a big support for you?
Haley: My husband is amazing! Yes, he is a huge support and the first person I go to with any emotional trouble. I have to say that chemically I do believe my body does need help from medication to allow me to choose to be happy and leave depression behind forever.
Me: I'm so glad your husband is your support. Many women don't have husbands like that. Are you working on any other books?
Haley: Yes, I am writing a fiction piece for young girls. I’m excited about it, but am taking my time. With A Future for Tomorrow there was a great sense of urgency to share my story. I’m just having fun with my next book and enjoying the characters.
Me: I think you have a built-in audience! Do you feel like everyone knows everything about you? Is that a scary feeling?
Haley: I don’t have a problem opening up and exposing my adolescent past because that is what it was: my adolescent past. I am no longer that person who struggles with self esteem, depression, or an eating disorder. My life now is completely different as a wife and mother. Sharing my past is not scary to me. Perhaps sharing this level of personal information about myself today would be scary and something I would be unwilling to do. Also I have a great purpose in exposing the disease for the raw ugly truth it is. I forget myself in the process.
Me: Well, I think you are very brave. What's your most embarrassing moment as a mom/wife/whatever you can think of?
Haley: I guess this is more of an embarrassing moment for my son, but it is something that my husband’s family loves teasing me about. When my oldest boy was a baby, my sister-in- law was over and my son needed a diaper change. I laid him down on the floor and began changing his smelly diaper while we visited. As fast as I could blink my boy had grabbed a fist full of poop --it gets worse-- before I realized he even had it in his hand he had smashed it into his mouth, pasting his tongue in brown! The frenzy of where to start to clean, shock, and uncontrollable laughing and horror between my sister-in-law and I only added to the craziness.
Me: Oh, yes, my little one has done things like that before! It is this frantic moment of, "Where do I start???"
Haley, thanks for doing this with me! I admire you so much and it's great to see how your life has moved on! Good luck with the new little one!