Why am I sharing it?
Do you want to know another reason why I am sharing it?
If I could could go back in time and talk with that mom,
what would I say?
I would also like to tell her that education is the power but do not believe everything you read. The internet is a double-edged sword. You can find an article, a post, a video, a tweet that supports any argument but that doesn’t make it fact. Base your decisions about raising a child with food allergies on facts, not fear, and use your best judgement. Every family that lives with food allergies has different experiences, different allergens, and different opinions. Respect their choices and know that we all can do things differently, without judgement, based on what works best for us. Also, it is okay to change your mind, your opinion, and your ways if something doesn’t work for you or if your education on the matter differs. Don’t allow your ego or your fear to stop you from making changes that will better your child’s life.
The teacher who has multiple students with food allergies cannot “get it”.
The doctor who sees thousands of patients with food allergies cannot “get it”.
The grandparent who watches their child struggle while parenting a child with food allergies cannot “get it”.
The best friend who spends a lot of time with the family that struggles with food allergies cannot “get it”.
All they can do is guess what it is like…and those thoughts are only brief. They do not live every day with the worries and day-to-day tasks of living with food allergies. Therefore, they cannot and will not ever “get it”. Do not hold that against them. Do not try to convince them otherwise. Educate them without anger, without scare tactics, without exaggeration, without bitterness, without resentment, and without hostility. Give credit to those who try to understand because that is all they can do…
Be understanding, be patient, be respectful, be determined,
become educated, trust your instincts, and always be kind.
EBL Food Allergies
If you could go back in time, what would you say? I asked this very question on my Facebook page and received some of the following responses.
Nicole Walker – Always trust your gut.
Joanne Knefel – That I would need a thick skin. And that no matter what her safety is my priority and go with my gut instinct.
Nutri-Mom / Allergy Phoods – It is something that you think will make you weaker but, in fact, it makes you stronger.
Heather Mayberry-Black – There is no food allergy manual on how to handle this illness. You take it day by day and if something happens, don’t beat yourself up but move on. I heard someone say once “food allergies has a steep learning curve with no room for error”.
Susan Shaffner Tischler – I would tell myself to be careful with my reactions to my sons’ allergic reactions. Because now they are older they are panic stricken if anything goes wrong. This illness creates a lot of anxiety and it affects so many aspects of our lives. I would like to try to minimize the anxiety if at all possible.
Shagufta Maskatiya-Terziev – Keep a food journal starting from when he started eating solids and no matter what, do not listen to anyone but my gut. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost put my son in type 1 hypersensitivity by listening to an ‘older, wiser’ female in the family. Once I learned to accept the cards I was dealt, we are conquering each day with new hope and just acceptance. That and to never allow an idiot ignorant family member or their idiotic friends to call my son a sick boy. Never again.
Riana Chisolm Jasperson – That it’s going to be ok. You can do this!
Mikhaela Reid – I would say make sure to have some really good support (family, friends, and even professional mental health counseling), because it’s hard to be a good parent when your own anxiety and terror around your child’s food allergies is paralyzing you. I was terrified, anxious and hardly sleeping for many months after my daughter’s first (and so far, last) anaphylactic reaction, and while I still have many hard days, getting some good counseling helped me a lot.
The Allergic Kid – Honestly, I wouldn’t. I thought I could manage my son’s food allergies because of our family’s long history of them, but it has gotten harder, not easier.
Mikhaela Reid’s response to The Allergic Kid – I think that’s the challenge of the whole “go back in time” framework—there may be some days or months when I feel like “OK, I’ve got this food allergy thing ALL figured out” but I agree with The Allergic Kid … as my daughter ages and get more independent and there are more and more situations that come up, it gets harder. Sure we can keep her safe at home… but what about pre-K next year? Birthday parties are always a terror fest. Playdates at other kids houses? I can’t imagine things getting EASIER… I also think there can be a danger IN relaxing and feeling like you have everything figured out, because constant vigilance is so important. Sure I’m horrified when I meet parents who never remember their kids’ Epi-Pens, but there have been a few times when we got a block or two outside the apartment and had to run back when we remembered. Sure there are times when we’ve negotiated birthday parties safely and had fun, but there have also been close calls. Sure, we used to go to restaurants and we had a whole procedure to try to stay safe but it just wasn’t worth it (and now that she’s older, I doubt restaurants would be OK with us bringing in her own meal)… Oh, I think that’s the other piece of advice I would give that not all allergy parents would agree with: if your kid has severe allergies (especially multiple ones): forget restaurants and bakeries. Just give that up. It’s possible to live a super happy and delicious life without them. When my daughter is all grown up and making her own decisions she may choose whether she wants to negotiate safety with food prepared in some restaurants, but I don’t comfortable subjecting her to that level of risk given her allergies to dairy, eggs, nuts, sesame, mustard and possibly a few other spices.
Charl Rae Segura Cobb – Trust you instincts and document your child’s reactions to potential allergens. Seek out a physician/allergist who listens to you and don’t waste time trying to help your child “just survive until he is old enough to be tested”.