Raising A Child With Allergies… The Truth

Waiting in the car for Benadryl to kick in, after a play date accident involving dairy cross contamination

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while, but have refrained for several reasons. I don’t want people to think that I have forgotten how lucky I am that my baby boy is here, allergies and all. I also don’t want to come across as resentful towards families who don’t have to deal with this particular struggle. And I want to be clear that I know I’m not the only mom in the world who is struggling, With that said, sometimes it is just important to talk about the real life struggles. Maybe one day other moms will find this post and be encouraged by knowing they are not alone.

Now on to the truth telling.

Randsom is my only child. Over the course of his first year of life, we discovered that he is allergic to egg, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, pet dander, and certain grasses. I still remember the first time he experienced an allergic reaction. I had broken a yogurt melt in half and given him a piece to try. It only took a minute before the skin around his mouth started to swell. He was only 7 months old at the time. I’m not going to go into all of the details about discovering the rest of his allergies, but I will spend some time sharing my fears.

These past few months have been really hard. I have suffered from anxiety for as long as I can remember, but this has brought on a new wave of fear that I never knew I could experience. It was easy to brush off the allergies when Randsom was younger, he wasn’t moving around and getting into everything. He never really liked to put things in his mouth, and he was never upset if we would eat and didn’t share. Now that he is older, I am realizing just how difficult this is going to be, possibly for the rest of his life. I read labels multiple times in the store, then again before I use the item, and I still fear that I missed something after I’ve given the item to Randsom. I will stay up at night and sit by his crib after he has tried a new food, because I’m afraid he will stop breathing. I carry epi-pens, bottles of benadryl, and Zyrtec in every bag I own. Lately I have found myself skipping play dates, and dreading going to church because he breaks out in hives almost every time we are around other children. I am constantly wondering what has been spilled on the floor or what other people have eaten without washing their hands after. Its exhausting.

I feel defeated and scared. I worry that Randsom will grow up to be resentful of how different he is from other kids. Sometimes I think its my fault, that my body just wasn’t prepared to grow healthy children, or that I could have done things differently when I was pregnant. I have been angry at God for allowing all of these things to happen to my baby.

I don’t have any encouraging words to end with. I haven’t gotten to a place where I am understanding or content. But I do know I’m not alone. I know there are many other moms who understand what I’m feeling. So this is an open letter to any moms going through the same thing. Give me a call. We can hug, cry and try to figure this stuff out together.

-Mommy Little