There is nothing trendy about a food allergy
Does an allergy rule your life?Share your stories, photos and videos.
Does an allergy rule your life?
Dear person who doesn't understand my parenting,
I am not being mean, controlling or over protective when I question the ingredients in the food you've so lovingly made and don't allow my child to eat it. It's not a personal attack on you, I really do appreciate the lengths you have gone to.
You wouldn't question or criticise me if I ran onto the road to save my child from a truck. Stopping them from eating certain foods is the same as running on to a road, it just happens that certain foods can do as much damage as a truck.
I am not buying into a fad so I can be trendy. I could really do without having to spend hours reading labels in the supermarket, double-checking everything that is eaten, the extra costs in buying allergy-friendly food, cooking separate meals, taking our own food to every social function so there will be something safe for my children to eat, and the extra medical costs.
There is nothing trendy about a food allergy. The reality is there is a lot of work, expense, pain and heartache involved.
Please don't look badly on my child if they cry when I tell them they can't eat the birthday cake. You had said you were fine with making something they could eat. I accept your apology for forgetting.
My child is not being naughty, they are just disappointed that once again they are the only child who is missing out. If you had seen how well they behaved the last 15 times they had to watch everyone else enjoy something while they didn't, you would understand how controlled they are being for just crying.
Try not to view my asking for the stopping of food rewards or restrictions on shared lunches at school as making your child miss out. Believe me when I say, I understand how much it hurts seeing your child being excluded.
I don't ask for these things to make your child miss out. I ask so that all the children, including mine, can be part of a safe, supportive environment.
I ask that you don't judge me for declining your invitation to eat at a restaurant or ask to phone ahead to see if they cater for our allergies. I know what it feels like to walk out of a cafe or restaurant after questioning the wait staff on every item on the menu because there is nothing for one of the children to eat.
Don't expect that I will stay to be polite and make one of my children sit hungry, watching everyone else eat. Despite what you may think, I am not a monster.
I could really do without the extra costs in buying allergy-friendly food and cooking separate meals, says Karen. PHOTO: 123rf
Do not look at me condescendingly and say, "A little bit won't hurt".
If you have ever held your breastfed baby as they scream in pain for hours because of something you accidentally ate; sat most of the night in the bathroom holding your crying child while they sit in pain on the toilet; spent the night cooling your child's skin so they don't scratch until they bleed then keep on scratching or dashed into the hospital in the middle of the night because of the severe pain they are in...
If you have watched as your baby's face swells to twice its size; heard them scream as you apply another layer of cream making their split skin sting; cleaned up endless amounts of vomit; frantically searched for antihistamines or used an epipen; seen your child try to walk when they are in pain because their entire body is swollen, or witnessed your teenager collapse in a fatigued heap, unable to speak coherently suffering from severe headaches and stomach cramps...
If you have ever held your child knowing they could die in your arms because of that little bit, you would know that a little bit could more than hurt. It could be fatal.
Before you roll your eyes or say something, just stop. Look at our happy healthy children. Smile and appreciate how much extra work has gone into keeping them that way and support us with your understanding.
A parent of allergic children
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