Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and scary things you will do in your life. You want so badly to do everything right. Then, just as you think you are starting to get the hang of this whole parenting thing, you learn that your child has a severe food allergy and you basically have to start learning from scratch. All of a sudden, the world suddenly becomes a much more threatening place. Raising a child with severe food allergies is a life changing circumstance.
- We have had to teach a 2 year old child that peanuts make her “sick.” We have recited this over and over, at the kitchen table, in the car, when a peanut butter commercial comes on TV.
- We have had to explain to our child why they can’t have a piece of cake or some other snack while at a birthday party.
- We have been a complete and utter nervous wreck while our child was somewhere without us that we knew food would be served.
- We have wished that our friends and family understood that our child’s allergies are not something to take lightly, that this is a prominent danger to our child’s life that we have to tackle every day.
- We have wondered if we would recognize the signs of an anaphylactic reaction when it began so that we could respond accordingly in enough time.
- We have been afraid to let our children eat in the car because we couldn’t watch them for a reaction while driving.
- We have shown teachers and sitters how to inject an epi-pen into our small child’s thigh all while praying that they never really have to have needed this lesson.
- We have bought and refilled epi-pen prescriptions even when they cost us over $400 with insurance and the epi-pen co-pay card that got us a $100 discount, all while hoping that we never actually have to use this expensive medicine. Although, you can NEVER put a price tag on peace of mind. (Per Mylan’s website, they have updated the co-pay deduction card from $100 to $300 as of 8/25/2016)
- We struggle every day, every day that we drop our child off at school or daycare, every day that we realize that we have to give our child little more freedom, but at the same time always fear the worst, and worry constantly while they are out of our sight.
- We have had to try to find answers for our child when they questions why they have food allergies but none of their friends do.
- We have had to wonder if everyone at the school is aware of our child’s food allergy. Is everyone prepared to handle an anaphylactic situation? Will a parent volunteer be told about the allergy? What about a substitute teacher? We need everyone to know so that if a reaction occurs, whoever is nearest to our child will recognize what is going on and what needs to be done.
- We aren’t trying to be difficult when it comes to planning snacks for school or parties. We aren’t trying to hurt your feelings when we decline an invitation out. We wish we didn’t have to be so painstakingly meticulous when it came to our child’s food. But we do and we appreciate it when you understand it.
We have grown accustomed to our new normal in raising a child with severe food allergies, but we are still learning new things every day. Thankfully my husband shares this journey with our sweet girl so she has such a good example to follow when it comes to living and growing with food allergies. Our main goal is to keep our girl safe and we hope you can empathize with us as we all learn to live loving someone with severe food allergies.