Oct
19
 
My daughter has multiple life-threatening food allergies to: eggs, milk/dairy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and melons. While most of my food allergy posts here are meant to be helpful to other parents, this one is simply a reflection… a “letting it all out” kind of post about the stress I feel regularly as a food allergy mom. To read a helpful article on the topic for those also struggling with stress due to food allergies, check out: From Stressing to Blessing: Shocking Levels of Stress in Food Allergy Moms.

 

i hate to complain, because i’m not the one with the illness,

just the mom trying to help and protect her. but the truth is

i spend so much time worrying.

 

i’m terrified of letting my phone battery die

or turning the volume on silent, because I might miss a call

from her school or her dad about a reaction.

it is so insane to know that food can kill my child.

that the reaction time needs to be so quick, and

that even if you do everything right – avoid the foods

she’s allergic to, or give the epi-pen,

she could still die.

she could die.

 

i absolutely hate having to take her to so many

doctor appointments and labs

to get poked and prodded,

holding her down despite her screams

and trying to explain, in kid terms, what is

going to happen. that yes, it’s going to hurt,

but it will be over soon.

I’m usually crying, too. hell, today I hugged the lab tech

after it was over. I acted like it was a thank you hug,

but I’m the one who needed a hug.

and then I let my kid pick out anything she wanted from the

gift shop. And yes, i mean anything.

 

because the truth is I feel fear, every day,

that my child will die.

imagine that for a minute.

i wonder if she will live to be a teenager.

and then i wonder if some idiot boyfriend

will kiss her after eating shrimp or peanutbutter

and then she’ll die.

 

when i drop her off at school and kiss her goodbye

I look at her and hug her and realize to my core

that this could be the last time i see her alive. and

pray that she makes it through the day.

i point out to the teachers at her school any single drop

of milk i see on a table or counter or floor

and remind the director NOT to hesitate with the

epi pen if she’s wondering what to do.

 

and i try to make today normal for her and

focus on having fun and teaching her

how to keep herself safe.

like what it means to read labels,

when she doesn’t even know how to read.

 

i spend so much time and money on food,

and then cooking the food from scratch.

for almost every meal, every family gathering.

always making a safe version so she

doesn’t feel left out.

 

and yet my daughter still hasn’t eaten

donuts and keeps asking for them.

for some reason i haven’t been able to dig

deep enough to fucking make donuts.

and so i feel like an awful parent.

 

food allergies impact her relationships – with her brother and friends.

play dates and birthday parties.

and it impacts my relationships – the marriage i had

and the dating relationships i have now.

family members and friends.

teachers and other parents at school.

 

we really can’t leave the house – or welcome people into our

house – without having a conversation about it.

 

this is not an easy road.

and it is no one’s fault. not hers. not mine.

it breaks my heart nearly every day.

 

But as a mother, as her mom,

i breathe in and out

and smile and pray,

work hard to be positive

and give her strength and confidence.

 

i want to give her everything possible to succeed in this life.

no matter how hard. no matter how much it costs.

she deserves the happiest of childhoods

and strongest of mothers.

don’t we all?

 

You can find more of my food allergy posts, tips & recipes on my Food Allergy page. I’d also love to connect with you on my Marketing Mama facebook page and twitter. This post, and all posts on this blog, are written from my experiences as a parent of a child with food allergies. I am not a medical expert and encourage you to consult with a doctor on your personal medical situation.
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38 Responses to “reflection:: what it’s like to be a food allergy mom”

 
  1. Liz says:

    Hugs my friend. I wish I could take it away for her and you, but I think you do such an amazing job with A. I am so proud and awed of you!

  2. Sara says:

    Missy,

    I’m a worrier. I have always been. As an adult I would worry if my adult sister was late geting home. My family makes fun of me about my worrying. I have often said that any kids I would have would end up in a lifetime of counseling because of me not letting them do anything.

    As I was reading your post my first thought was I wished you weren’t so anxious. Who the hell was I kidding? It is hard enough to love and encourage the young people in our lives without having to let real fears seep in. We might be able to take the crazy “regular” scenarios, the what ifs and still not be too anxious.

    Those who haven’t walked in your shoes cannot really understand. But, I stand with you and A as support, to educate others, to advocate, to give you a break when needed and to never be upset if you ask what I ate or if I washed my hands.

    Most importantly, I give you all love and hugs.

    xxoo

    Sara

  3. Gina says:

    I don’t think that L’s allergies are as severe as your daughter’s and I still have these anxieties. You are not alone. And one day, we’ll be glad that they are strong and intentional and responsible and maybe we’ll credit these evil effing allergies.

    That they’ve now outgrown.

    Dear God, make it so.

    • Missy says:

      Thanks gina. I like your prayer/dream. Avery is definitely a strong little girl who has been through a lot already, as I know your L has as well. Always good to hear I’m not alone. Thank you for being someone who understands. xo

  4. Brenda Sue says:

    I don’t know how you do it. This is generally my response when I read of your food allergy experiences. You’re the reason she’s made it this far but we all share a responsibility in protecting her future.

    The education you provide helps your readers to become teachers of friends and family. This budding generation of children is growing up aware thanks to people like you.

  5. Leah says:

    I meant to tell you that the other night she made sure I washed my hands before I opened her yogurt. it was so precious and responsible. and you’re a dear mother. they’re both the luckiest. love you guys. xoxo

  6. Sarah says:

    Thanks for this post. I wish I could give you a hug.

    Would vegan donuts be safe for her? You could contact The Donut Cooperative (http://thedonutcooperative.com/news.html) in Minneapolis and see if they’d work, although they do make regular donuts too, but they suggest people with allergies call.

    Also, I saw this link… http://store.veganessentials.com/vegan-donut-sampler-by-larsen-bakery-p2938.aspx

    • Missy says:

      Thanks Sarah! I’m sure the local place won’t work because they use egg and milk in some of the donuts and I wouldn’t feel comfortable with donuts made in a kitchen with those items… I’m researching those vegan donuts and if all else fails, I’m gonna figure out how to make them myself. thanks again. :)

  7. You highlight this with information, spoken from the heart. You’re amazing.

  8. darcie says:

    ::sigh::
    I hate this for you. And for your sweet little A.
    I hate this for all the other parents and kiddos of the world too.

    Life is tough enough when you DON’T have to add this to it.
    Together, we can make this world safer for everyone – I appreciate you bringing awareness to my life, and in turn, to the lives of others.

    This halloween, we are ONLY giving out trinkets. ie: beaded necklaces, stickers, tattoos, rings…This isn’t much different than the past few years since I’ve met you – except we aren’t even bothering with ‘allergy safe’ candy anymore…time to make ALL kids feel special, and equal.

    • Missy says:

      darc, as always, thanks for your love and support. love the fact that you gave out non-food toys this year. that is pretty awesome!!! <3

  9. Ally says:

    Missy,

    I may not have a child with a food allergy, but it makes my heart break for you and other and when I read your blog with a new reaction to a new food, or someone touching nuts then touching a food that is a ‘safe’ food without washing theirs hands. (I started crying reading this).

    Unfortunately your fear and anxiety with your child’s food allergy is not only with a food allergy – but just fear for a child! I may not be able to relate to the food allergy, but I can relate to young children and the ‘what ifs’

    You, your daughter and those around you will be in my prayers – so that all will understand the magnitude of these allergies and just what can actually happen and to do whatever possible to not allow those scenarios to happen.

  10. Ruby Leigh says:

    Very touching. Thanks for being real. I intend to share this with other moms who deal with allergies from their kids.

  11. Jo says:

    I love you.

  12. Well if anyone I know can have the strength and spirit to endure it would be you Missy! Guess what we are here to lean on too. You are never alone!!!

  13. Andrea B says:

    Missy- this was such a moving post. I can’t even begin to understand what you go through everyday but support you in any way that I can!

  14. abby says:

    missy, i love you and your sweet family because i can so relate and you say everything that i am feeling but can’t seem to put in words. this life with so severely allergic children is so hard. i think it does finally hit home with people when you communicate that you worry every single day that your child might die because of exposure to food. thank you for being the amazing advocate that you are. also, know that i am in awe of your strength to go at this as a single parent. it is so – hard and you do it with such grace and look at how wonderful your children are. you are an outstanding mom! thank you for being you.

    • Missy says:

      thanks abby. having friends like you who are going through the same thing make it a little easier. really appreciate you having you as a friend – and our sporadic, but meaningful, phone calls. hope to see you this weekend at the fair! one year since we met! :)

  15. Wendy says:

    Missy,
    We don’t know each other but I have been a ‘lurker’ of your blog for a couple of years. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and fears about this incredibly stressful topic. All of us with kids have those fears that they will somehow die, but at least for me those fears, for the most part, are in the abstract. Yours is not – it’s real and it’s scary.

    You are a strong woman, a fantastic mom and a great advocate for your daughter. She is lucky to have you. And you are lucky to have the tremendous support that you do.

    Thank you again for not only sharing how food allergies affect your daughter, but also – and just as important – how they affect you.

  16. Jennifer W says:

    It’s like you took the words right out of my mouth. I have twin boys who both have lethal peanut allergies. One of the boys also has a severe egg allergy. It absolutely SUCKS some days. It broke my heart the other day to not let my little guy have a piece of cake because I didn’t know where it came from. The look on his face broke my heart in to a million pieces. It sucks. When I get down and upset about it all, I have to remind myself it could be worse. It could be cancer. It could be a flesh-eating bacteria. Whatever. It definitely could be worse. But you know what, sometimes I just want to be mad about it. I just want to be angry with God for handing this to us. I remind my boys (and myself) that it’s not their fault. They didn’t do anything wrong. But that they are special and it’s just food. I understand the worry you talk about. It’s constant. Every day at school lunch. Every time they go to a birthday party. Every holiday at the in-laws. It just sucks sometimes. Thank you for being honest. Let me know if you want to share my Xanax!!! :) hey … if we can’t laugh we’ll melt! All my best to you. JW

    • Missy says:

      oh Jennifer, thank you so much for leaving that comment. I totally get it and relate 100% to your stories. we moms need to stick together – and yes, please pass the xanax! :)

  17. Kate says:

    Missy,

    I also have a child with food allergies – peanut, egg, wheat, milk, soy and tomato. Very hard to deal with some days! I found a recipe for donuts that avoids the top eight allergens and have used other recipes from this person. Some of her stuff is too sweet, in my opinion, and in that case I just dumb down the sugar. Here’s a recipe from her website that my child adores and they freeze well. I substitute cider vinegar for the lemon juice as my son has not had citrus yet. I skip the glaze and sprinkles for now. Someday I’ll add them. Hope this helps!
    http://cybelepascal.com/gluten-free-vegan-baked-cake-donuts/
    Kate

    • Missy says:

      Thanks Kate! That is so sweet of you! I have seen Cybele around the net but haven’t tried any of her recipes yet. Another friend emailed me a donut recipe the same day I wrote this post and guess what?! we made donuts!!! :)

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  19. Elizabeth says:

    Wiping my tears…Missy, we have so much in common. Your fears are my fears. I wish we had more time to talk in NYC. I truly understand where you are coming from. I too have days like this. Chin up Mama. It will get better for us, for them. Keep being a wonderful Mom. ((Hugs))

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