Food Allergies: From the Perspective of a Mother

Not growing up in America, I had never heard of allergic reactions let alone what a food allergy was. My kids were very young when I first found out about their allergies. As the mother of two kids, both allergic to different things, it was very difficult to manage it all and keep them safe and happy at the same time. Going to birthday parties was stressful sometimes because I had to make sure that no one that had consumed their allergen was touching them or playing with them. As a kid, having pizza and cake at a birthday party was like the most fun thing ever. So, at every party, I used to make them vegan cupcakes and homemade pizza so that they would feel somewhat normal with their friends. If we went to a close family or friend’s house, I would ask them the menu in advance, so I would make the same food that everyone else would be having, but allergen-free for my kids, so they wouldn’t feel like their meal was all that different. Most of the time, everyone understood their allergies. But, sometimes when my kids would be at an event and eating their own food that I had packed, people would ask us so many questions and I could see that my kids were uncomfortable. As time went on, they stopped caring what others thought of them because they knew their safety mattered first. Just seeing them go through that was difficult for me. I even never ate dessert or cake at parties so that they wouldn’t feel bad. In fact, I refrained from eating most of their allergens just to make them feel comfortable and safe. Sometimes people would comment and think that I was overdoing and being dramatic about their allergies. But I would never let that get to me because I knew that I was doing what was necessary to keep my kids safe. I also barely traveled to see my family because I was scared to bring the kids. I always got anxiety from thinking about sitting in a plane for so many hours, and the possibility of them getting a reaction. But by watching me do all of these things, my kids learned how to take care of themselves and manage their allergies really well. So my advice to all the parents out there whose young kids have food allergies is to prepare your kids well and don’t let others’ thoughts about you influence how you keep your kids safe.