Dear Mama of a Child with Food Allergies,

I see you.

I see you sitting in the allergist’s office comforting your child as they undergo yet another round of skin tests.

I see the look of panic on your face as you are reading that EpiPen box for the first time. You silently hope and pray that you won’t ever have to actually use it.

I see the worry on your face and the anxiety in your heart every time you leave your toddler in the care of another. I see you as you drop your toddler off in the church nursery and pray they don’t accidentally pick up another child’s sippy cup filled with milk.

You triple check your child’s backpack every time you leave the house to be sure that it is stocked with allergen-free snacks, hand wipes, Benadryl, and EpiPen.

I know you are mentally exhausted from all of the meticulous food prep, extra hand washing, and late night Googling. You’ve had a long day and you just want to be able to cook a quick & easy dinner for your family. But for those of us with a child with multiple food allergies, there is no such thing as a simple family dinner.

You wonder if your child will ever outgrow their allergies. Or just be able to order off of a regular restaurant menu one day.

I see you secretly worrying that your child might get left out of class parties and birthday celebrations. Or worse, have to sit at a separate lunch table all alone every day.

I see you on the playground when you overhear a group of moms talking about the “inconvenience” of not being able to pack their child’s favorite pb&j sandwich in their lunch because “A little girl named London in their class has a peanut allergy”. You feel hurt and sad that others view your child’s potentially fatal condition as an inconvenience to those without food allergies.

You have sat in the backseat of the car comforting your wheezing toddler while watching their every breath as your husband races to the ER. This isn’t your first emergency room visit, and you know it won’t be the last either.

Mama, I’ve been there. Each and every time. This journey is hard. Many of our own friends and family have no idea of the struggles we often face on a regular basis. And sometimes it’s the littlest things in life that are the hardest for a mama’s heart to handle.

But, for all of the anxiety and fear that comes along with food allergies, you have also come to realize there is a lot of joy in the journey, too.

Like the time when you give your toddler their first (allergy-friendly) cookie and then see the huge smile on their face as they taste chocolate for the first time. In that moment, you realize they are just like every other toddler their age enjoying the simple pleasures of childhood.

It’s the simple things, isn’t it?

I see you standing in the aisle of the grocery store practically jumping for joy when you finally find chocolate chip cookies free of the top 8 allergens (that don’t cost $10). Or when your local grocery store finally carries your child’s favorite brand of coconut milk yogurt.

You breath a sigh of relief in the drive thru at Chick-fil-A because you know it’s a place where your child can enjoy a quick meal on the go. Dining out with food allergies presents many challenges, so you are incredibly thankful to find a restaurant your child can safely eat at.

You know the joy of seeing your baby try a new food and not react to it. Another food that your child CAN eat.

I see your eyes well up with happy tears when your child’s teacher goes out of her way to find allergy-friendly sweet treats for the class Halloween party. You know she didn’t have to do that, but you are so grateful to find people that care for and love on your baby when they are away from you.

Mama, I see you. Through all of the good, the bad, and the ugly. As each day passes, you will start to feel more confident about navigating life with a child with food allergies. You’ll find allergy-friendly kid snacks and amazing recipes that the whole family will enjoy. And you’ll discover so many amazing resources that are committed to helping you and your child live the best life possible.

If you meet a fellow food allergy mama, give her a hug and make a connection. I promise you that there are other mamas out there that have been in your shoes and would love to offer support to you.

We are in this together. You’ve got this, mama.

Love,

A fellow food allergy mama

{My daughter, London (2), has multiple food allergies to dairy, soy, & peanuts. She was diagnosed with her milk & soy allergies as a newborn}