You are amazing. Yes, you, the parent of a child with food allergies. It’s not easy. Actually, it’s damn hard. And I want to take just a moment to celebrate how strong and inspirational you are to me and countless others.
I know being thrown into this alternate reality must have felt like the world’s cruelest joke – your child actually getting sick from eating food. And I know you have done everything you can to figure out what was going on and painstakingly research the best doctors in town, labs who work the best with kids for countless blood draws and hunted up and down for coupons and cheapest pharmacies for the very expensive medications you must now buy for your child.
I see you tracking down safety information for food and very cautiously trying out restaurants. I know you drive all over town, to multiple stores, for safe and “normal” food options for your child. I’ve watched you doing your best to make birthday cakes from scratch when you’d much rather order from a bakery. And being worried about who your child is sitting next to in school and if they had peanut butter on their toast for breakfast.
I hear you talk about all the ways you try to make holidays special for your child so they don’t feel left out. I see you navigating tricky, emotion-filled conversations with family about the holidays to make sure it’s safe for them. And I’ve heard your stories of advocating HARD for your children at school to make sure their classroom, above all else, is safe for them to learn without fear of a reaction. And believe me, I know how nervous you are about traveling because it’s hard to plan safe meals on the road for days at a time.
I know you’re thinking about just how much to tell your children about the fact that food allergies can be fatal, because while you don’t want them to live in fear, you also want them to take it seriously so they can stay alive. And I know you bite your tongue and try not to tell your kids every time you are worried about them because you want them to think for themselves and learn how to navigate and advocate for themselves. But… I know how you have the pit in your stomach every time school calls. And the fear you feel of actually having to give the EpiPen… and the relief that comes after you give it for the first time and realize that you CAN do it and your child will recover. I’ve seen you spend a ton of money on expensive “special foods” just so your kid can eat something made with safe ingredients to enjoy it like everyone else. And spend hours hunting down allergy-friendly products like medical bracelets, stickers, clothing and medicine belts all to help make life a little easier for your child.
I know you’re relieved when your child has “normal kid” problems because at least it’s not food allergies – anything “normal” is better than anything involving an ambulance. And that when they go to bed at night you take a deep breath and thank God you made it through another day.
I know the stress of all of these things have affected your marriage. And your friendships. And your job. And yet, I see you reaching out for support when your heart is broken about your child’s allergies and the struggles that come with them. And, I’m inspired when I see you blessing other people with your experience, strength and hope — especially the new allergy parents who’s heads and hearts are spinning so fast they don’t know where to turn.
For all of these things you endure, all of the wonderful things you do for your child and all of the ways you help other families… you are amazing. Your child is REALLY lucky to have you as their parent and the rest of us are really lucky to know you.
You see, I know all of this about you because I’m one of you, too. And knowing there are people out there like me, fighting this fight every single day, means the world to me. We are in this together.
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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