When your kid has a food allergy, there’s a lot of anxiety that comes along with it. One of the first major hurdles is getting your head wrapped around the fact that you’ve got to carry epinephrine with you wherever you go from now on. (Yes, just like the one used on Uma Thurman in the OD scene in Pulp Fiction). Food allergies are beyond stressful for families, and it can paralyze you with fear.
When you’ve got to walk around armed with a life saving medication inside a ready-to-use syringe, food allergies get real, FAST.
Food Allergies: Did I skip that section in the baby book?
I remember the day it happened like it was yesterday. One minute I was in my kitchen feeding my kid hummus for the millionth time, then BAM!
Allergic reaction – Hospital – Stabilized – Rx – New Normal. And, just like that, I had a kid that could potentially need me to shoot him up to save his life.
Food Allergy Moms Stay Locked & Loaded
Once I understood what to look for, I was one vigilant mama. A little too vigilant. My kid is lucky that he wasn’t preemptively shot up with epinephrine if you ask me.
Better safe than sorry, right?
Thanks to a Youtube video demonstrating a pretty great way to hold your kid steady so you can make sure you give the injection properly, I was just waiting for my time to pounce.
I felt like I was walking around with a loaded weapon living in the freaking wild west or something. Talk about becoming a Tiger Mom.
It was surreal. But, the weird thing is—you get used to it. Even those who have to use their Epi Pens frequently say this just becomes your new normal.
But, it IS crazy to get your mind around it.
Forgetting Your Ammo
I can remember two times when I forgot my Epi pen, and my husband forgot to bring his backup. Once, we were almost at the beach, and the second was at a major league baseball game.
The beach situation was easy to remedy since we were close by. We just drove back to the house and retrieved it.
The second time wasn’t discovered until our little one was running around the grassy knoll in the outfield seats, and I noticed he was spitting something out of his mouth. A wave of terror washed over me—peanut shells were all over the grass.
In that moment, I realized that in switching out my purse for the backpack, I forgot to grab my makeup bag with the Epi Pen.
I was paralyzed with fear for about 10 seconds. Then, I started trying to figure out where the emergency “people” would be if something tragic happened.
Then, I picked him up and started hauling ass back to the car. My husband grabbed my other kid and threw him on his back, and off we both ran. We at least wanted to be in the car en route to the hospital if the worst happened.
It never did. He was fine.
But, hand to God, I thought I was going to have an F’ing heart attack. We’re human. We’re going to make mistakes. But, I felt awful for months following that perceived near death experience.
This is what being a mom of a food allergy kid can feel like.
You’ve Got This
Most of us aren’t prepared for the shock of being a mom of a kid with crazy food allergies—especially the Epi Pen part. (And DON’T get me started on the holidays! Jump straight to Allergy Moms are Christmas Miracles for more on that:))
The best I can say is that there’s an ebb and flow to the fear element when it comes to food allergies. You DO get a new normal, and you DO get used to it. The information on this site helps. But, mostly–it’s just putting in the hard work EVERY single day.
Then, something happens, and even if you’re prepared—you still somehow feel sucker punched. It’s a lot to manage. But, we do it. Why? Because we freaking have to. We must, so we do. It’s that simple.
Then, we watch them sleep those deep sleeps, and we (slowly) catch our own breath again. We manage. And, if we’re lucky, we teach them to manage it all, too.