What I want you to know about being the mother of a kid with severe food allergies

What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Mandi. 

When my son was 9 months old I casually gave him a spoonful of scrambled eggs from his big sister’s breakfast plate. He had an anaphylactic reaction and we almost lost him. In the hours after that small bite of eggs my life was turned upside down, my husband, our daughter and most definitely our son’s life would never be the same. The flurry of doctors and nurses doing everything they could to save our tiny boy, our beautiful girl only 4 years old watching in fear as every single adult around her panicked and paid her no mind, and us, my husband and I in utter disbelief that this could actually be happening. We found out (through testing) that my son is also severely allergic to all tree nuts and peanuts, as well as eggs.

That was 3 years ago and what I want you to know is that even though I act like I have this “allergy Mom” role down, I don’t. I am scared all the time. The time someone in our family accidentally forgot the dip had Mayonnaise in it at a holiday party. The many times I intervene (and quietly panic) when a parent or a child offers my son food without asking me first. The time my husband tickled my son’s belly with his beard having forgotten that hours earlier he had eaten a handful of nuts at a bar and left our little one with hives all over his torso. The time my toddler pulled a peanut out from between the seats on an airplane and eagerly attempted to shove it in his mouth. Every. Single. Time. I have to remind myself to bring the epi-pens.

But this is not what I REALLY want you to know. What I REALLY want you to know is that I could use your help and I need your understanding. I know that inviting my kid to the Birthday party is going to complicate things but please do not leave him out, it’s not his fault, just reach out to me, I make a mean vegan cupcake (no really) and I always bring wine. Please teach your children how important it is to never share food without a parent/guardian's permission and do the same yourself. Talk to your kids about food allergies, explain to them how serious it is, show them what a medic alert bracelet looks like. When the school asks you to not send your kid with nuts, dairy, chickpeas, strawberries etc… don’t make a big deal about it; a kid’s life is at stake. 

I guess that is what I am trying to get across; we are talking about the life of a child. Something as harmless as a cupcake or a granola bar to you looks like a deadly weapon to me. And holy crap is that stressful! But I don’t want my kid to grow up with a scared, stressed out Mom; I want him to feel just as carefree and normal as the other kids in his life. I have come to realize though, I can’t make this happen all on my own. So please, in the future when you are meeting an “allergy mom” or an “allergy kid” I hope you will throw some understanding their way even though they might make things a bit more complicated. I guarantee that Mom will be forever grateful and who knows, you might just score a vegan cupcake and a glass of wine.




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