Although a growing issue, food allergies have a way of making people feel alone, isolated and different. My son often feels like the only kid who can’t eat the bread or dessert out at meals. He’s the one worrying about whether the birthday treat will be safe for him and quietly left feeling excluded from the fun. But I also feel alone sometimes: I’m the person silently, but constantly, weighing the risks of every move we make throughout every day of the year; thinking five steps ahead to protect my child’s health.
Let’s face it, having a food allergy isn’t easy. And, parenting a child with food allergies is stressful. Sometimes you just need to talk to someone who inherently understands your life.
I was reminded of that recently, when I consulted with someone whose son is about to start kindergarten. I remember the considerations we had to take into account at that time and the stress it stirred going from a nut-free school to one that is sensitive to nuts, but does not ban them. I was more than happy to help out in any way I could. I was glad to let her vent her frustrations, address her concerns and pass along some of our hard-earned lessons. It feels good to pay it forward as I, too, call upon other moms and doctors for advice and reality checks.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. But that village doesn’t just support the child, it strengthens the parents. The village’s collective education, creativity and spirit ensure you don’t have to go it alone. When you’re feeling turned around or exasperated, the village is there with a cup of coffee (or, in my case, a bowl of ice cream), some calming words and a hug.
I encourage you all to reach out to other food allergic parents and pose questions, offer advice, voice your aggravations, exchange recipes, share ideas, and just generally encourage one another. And, if you don’t know another food allergy parent, feel free to contact me. Please visit Allergy Shmallergy’s facebook page where you are welcome to post questions to me and one another, arrange meet up groups, swap great ideas and generally just connect with and support one another.
Thank you for being part of my village.