To you mamas that have kids with allergies, I just want to hug you. I don’t know how you do it, especially those who have children with life-threatening allergies. I had a scare last night, and it’s been on my mind. You have found a new ally in me.
I have one child out of 5 that has a food allergy. One of my daughters has a peanut allergy and eczema. I have always considered myself lucky that her allergy is not severe or life-threatening, at least as far as we know. She has an EpiPen, and I’ve been annoyed and ticked off that each year I have to buy a new 2-pack, and they go unused. However, at the same time, I’m thankful they go unused. This past year, I paid $400 out of pocket for one, and it stung.
Each time my daughter is exposed to peanuts or ingests them (by accident) the allergy reactions get worse. She has probably been exposed 4 times in her life. Yesterday was one of them.
With our move, I’ve been disorganized and relaxed with certain things. I let my daughter go out to dinner with my father to a Vietnamese restaurant. He knows of her allergy, so I didn’t really give it a second thought. However, he got a salad and didn’t know there were crushes peanuts on the bottom of the salad. She took a bite and didn’t ingest a peanut, but it was enough for her to have a reaction. They rushed to my mom’s house (where I was), and I could see the look on her face. Worried that she was having a reaction and worried she was going to get in trouble.
I gave her a thorough look over. Her face was splotchy, bumps and redness appearing around her mouth and down her neck, her eyes puffy. I immediately gave her Benadryl and prayed I wouldn’t have to use the EpiPen I forgot to bring to my mom’s house. I was worried, but I didn’t want her to see me worry. I kept asking about her breathing.
Luckily with another dose of Benadryl, all seemed to be well. But, mamas, please forgive me. I’m sorry for anytime I rolled my eyes or was the teeniest bit annoyed that I couldn’t bring in xyz for snack or lunch for my other children. I even have kids with allergies, and I still did it. I know better. Being worried for just that short amount of time was awful. I don’t wish that on any parent.
Tell me what to do. How can I support you? My child will get over not being able to have certain foods if it means keeping your child safe. That goes for school, for parties, for sports. My child will eat carrots if I give them to her, and she has no other choice. My child will not starve to death if presented with an alternative. Children adapt.
You need me to go gluten-free? With research, I can do it. As much as I love my gluten, I will get rid of it for your child. Dairy? Gone. Tree nuts? See ya! There are plenty of safe options, and I will happily send my child with those options if it means less worry for you. This is your child’s health we’re talking about.
If only parents knew what it felt like to fear that your child might stop breathing. Fear cross contamination. Felt the tears come to their eyes when they look at their child’s face and know something is reacting to their little bodies.
So please, tell me what to do. Do you need a buddy to stand with you? Write some strongly worded emails? Side-eye another parent who is complaining how their child will only eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch or they’ll melt? Done. I’m here for you. Us mamas need to stick together.