Dear Non-Allergy Mom,
This may be the first time you’ve ever been called this. I hope this name doesn’t offend you, goodness what I would give to have that title instead of the one I have. I’m sorry, let me introduce myself. Hi, my name is Ashley. I’m an allergy mom, that means I have children with anaphylactic food allergies, so basically I’m a mom to kids with severe life threatening food allergies. Actually two of my seven children have severe food allergies. I wanted to share with you a little bit about our life and food allergies. Prior to having children with food allergies I didn’t understand the severity. I didn’t understand the world allergy kids and their families live in. I’d like to shine light on this subject and no better time than the beginning of the school year.
One of my daughters has a severe reaction to eggs. She can not have eggs or anything that contains eggs, this includes egg items like cakes, cookies, doughnuts, most chicken strips, corn dogs, most breads, most pastas and so much more. Basically all the stuff we loved to eat. When my little girl was smaller we were checking her into children’s church when I noticed a new volunteer in her classroom. We made sure to communicate with him about her allergy and safety. The guy laughed out loud and said “well I don’t plan on serving up omelets in here today”. My heart sank. Sir you don’t understand, my daughter can not eat items that contain egg in them. He just looked at me with a blank stare. During the entire church service I was a nervous wreck. I knew they would text me if I was needed. I knew she had her EPI with her, but still. There was a new adult in her room that didn’t fully get it. Thankfully all was fine. My daughter is older now and understands the need to be careful about what she eats. She is able to speak up about her allergy to others.
My two year old son has severe anaphylaxis to peanuts, corn, sesame, shellfish, and green peas. This means he must avoid everything that contains these foods. He loves food. He wants to eat all the time. Since he is still a young toddler, often times he will see food and reach for it, shoving it into his mouth. This means we don’t attend most birthday parties, family gatherings, and church pot lucks. If we do we I pack their own foods that are safe for them. We say no a lot. It’s not because we don’t want to attend those fun events, it’s literally because our children’s lives are at risk. Often times parties or social gathers involving food is like navigating a land mine for those with food allergies. That sounds a bit extreme I know but it’s our reality with anaphylaxis. These are my kids and their allergies. Allergies are not a one size fits all. Every child is so different with their own specific needs.
If you have friends that are allergy moms know that they want to attend your party, they want to be included, they want their children to partake in the fun and excitement but they can’t because their child’s safety depends on it. Will you cut her some slack? Will you show her mercy? Because as an allergy mom I know how lonely this space can be sometimes. Maybe you could even go out of your way to have some safe items her kid can eat. That would be such a great way to extended hospitality to her and her family. Pinterest has some really great ideas, I’d just double check with your allergy mom friend first.
Let’s talk about school.
I know how hard it is non-allergy mom. You can’t send your child with their beloved PB & J sandwich because there is an allergy kid in the class. I know it’s hard and can be difficult, trust me, I know. It’s our life everyday all day. Class parties look different when you have an allergy kid in the class. You might have had an entire Pinterest board dedicated to the first class party and now it’s all out the window. I’m sorry. If there was something we allergy moms could do to take away the allergies we’d do it in a heartbeat. I’d crawl across the country on my knees if it meant my children would be free from these allergies. But that’s not the case, this is our story. Since I can’t change it I wanted to speak up and reach out to you. I wanted you to know I understand the extra thought it takes you when packing your child’s lunch so that our allergy kids are safe. I just want to express my gratitude to you for going out of your way in planning the class parties so that everyone is included.We allergy moms hate having to burden you with this task but we need you to be merciful and join hands with us. Thank you for being compassionate to our children and their safety. We all want the same thing, happy healthy kids.
💛THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts- xox all the allergy moms you’ll ever meet