It is truly an odd feeling to think of food as the enemy. Every Snickers commercial, Jif ad, or Reese’s in the checkout line is a possible trip to the hospital. We became food allergy parents very early in our parenting journey. We often wonder what type of parents we would have been if we were not constantly worried and managing safe foods, products and environments. At first being a parent with different worries and fears than those in your friend and family circle can be isolating. The fear of your child becoming ill or dying from touching a certain food can be consuming and terrifying without someone to relate to. Luckily, though technology we were able to find support groups and informative websites and blogs to make connections with those who have walked a mile in our shoes.
Food allergy parents, like all parents, want their children to be safe. They just have a different set of things to protect their children from, things that for non-food allergy families are mundane. Its an alien experience to be hyper vigilant about what food is near our child, or even what food other children may have eaten before coming over to play. It is a great kindness when others ask questions to try and accommodate our safety concerns. Asking a food allergy parent to review a menu of food you intend to serve or have around their child shows a great deal of compassion. It really puts us at ease and helps us avoid the awkward questioning we so often have to initiate. We are so grateful to those that avoid our child’s allergen if they know they will be interacting with us. Our allergy journey has taken us to some sad and scary places. These little acts of kindness are much appreciated rays of light.
Here are some stories of what some other food allergy parents wish others knew
Written by: Deanna Riggs, Speech/Language Pathologist, and husband Peter Riggs