Surprisingly, I have gone back and forth about writing this post. Then it hit me, while watching a segment about allergies on Kathy Lee and Hoda on the Today Show – the whole reason I started my journey in public was for other moms like me to not feel alone.
I was “that mom”, the one who wanted to do everything in my power to ensure my son was not immune to the world, especially as a first time mother. I wasn’t scared of dirt or germs. Now, don’t get me wrong, I was cautious but tried not to be crazy.
Early on in his tiny human life we found out that my son had eczema. No problem, trips to the tiny human dermatologist and some extra tlc and lotion. But, when we couldn’t seem to get his eczema under control, our pediatrician suggested that we do a few tests to see if it could be something else – allergies. This all happened pretty early on, prior to trying solid foods with him. At the time, I didn’t think anything of it. In my head, I wasn’t worried. I have never had allergies and my husband didn’t either, so I just assumed the tests would come back normal. Well, if you haven’t guessed yet, I was wrong. When the doctor phoned to see if I had time to talk, I was scared. My little guy was allergic to nuts and seeds and egg. I had so many emotions running through my head it was spinning. I was scared, nervous, angry, sad . . I could go on and on. I wanted to learn as much as I could about them from how severe they were to what I need to look out for and what to do if he has a reaction.
What scared me more than any of this was that our pediatrician only tested a few items initially. How we found out Brodie was allergic to GLUTEN was due to a major skin reaction during a playgroup where flour was being used. He had his hands in the flour bin for all of two minutes before moving on and all of a sudden his entire body started to break out in red hives and my mom instincts took over. Luckily it was only a skin reaction and I got him to the doctor as fast as I’ve ever done anything in my life. A few hours at the doctor and dose of Benadryl made the reaction go away.
All of a sudden, I felt the world was against us and that I had done something wrong to give this to him. You get nervous going out to eat. You are anxious when you go to playgroups. You worry that you can’t protect him. Anytime we would leave the house, I would be attempting to analyze our locations – try to see if I can find anything that could potentially set off an allergic reaction. I became a nervous wreck . .on the inside. My diaper bag and purse ALWAYS have an epi-pen and Benadryl, just in case. But you can’t live life like that, I would be going crazy. Now it’s about being as cautious as I can and being prepared.
I will say this; my emotional battle has gotten better. You find that because allergies are more common now that the world has had to adjust to some extent. Most restaurants have gluten-free menus and scratch kitchens and are more aware of allergies. You do find your favorites – places that are more aware and better at accommodating. You learn to read the packaging and ingredient lists on EVERYTHING. I mean who knew Ben and Jerry’s ice cream was made with eggs??! Or that most gluten-free bread added eggs to their ingredient list?
In this day and age, it’s important for all parents, whether or not your child has allergies, be informed. Ask questions. Know what to do if you are with a child who has an allergic reaction. Be proactive – know if any of the children under your supervision have allergies and be aware of what’s in the food you’re feeding those children and what is in your home.
Mommin ain’t easy but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.