As a mother of three daughters between the ages of 30 and 15, Moraima is no stranger to the wave of emotions that come with raising teenage daughters. She has always worked hard to instill independence at an early age.
Those values became especially important when she tragically lost her husband. Moraima's youngest daughter was only eight at the time and had a difficulty coping with her father's passing.
“That was the first time my youngest daughter started therapy in order to help her express the emotions she was experiencing with the loss of her father. It was a difficult time, but she pushed through thanks to the help of a therapist,” said Moraima.
In the summer of 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, her daughter, then 13, began experiencing new hardships.
First, Moraima discovered uneaten food in her daughter's bathroom drawers. When she spoke with her about the food, her daughter explained that she was just not hungry. It was then that Moraima realized her youngest was not eating well and was losing weight. Around the same time, her daughter began choosing to wear more long sleeves and pants. Moraima soon discovered that the teen was hiding cuts on her arms and legs.
Seeking answers, Moraima reached out to Nicklaus Children's Hospital, where she also works as a business operations manager, to find support for herself and her daughter. The hospital recommended she seek an evaluation with the Division of Adolescent Medicine, which offers care for issues affecting adolescents.
The Division of Adolescent Medicine coordinated appointments with a team of specialists, including a nutritionist, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and more.
After six months, the child started to eat better and feel more comfortable with her weight. Medications and talk therapy with the psychologist and psychiatrist began to help her open up about her feelings.
This team of specialists has followed Moraima's daughter for over a year now and she credits the collaborative group to her daughter's great progress.
“Even though it was extremely scary as a parent to uncover all of this, I was reassured in knowing there is a whole team dedicated to the needs of my daughter. Dr. Leslie Garrard and Dr. Gilbert Smith were especially instrumental in my daughters care, thanks to the trust and support my daughter feels when speaking with them,” said Moraima.
“They have been supportive to me as a parent as well. The team has helped put this in perspective for me and guide me along this complex journey, in order to best support her needs as a parent,” she said.
Moraima says that her daughter's care journey is still a work in progress, but thanks to the support of this caring team, she is on a bright path to getting better. In fact, her daughter is an amazing artist who has found her passion in art and hopes to be an animation artist one day.