“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way.” – Yoda
There is a secret, or not so secret, war going on between people who have food allergies and people who don’t.
Some of us who have children with food allergies have no choice but to be involved. We must win this war, because the alternative is unthinkable. The alternative is our child dying from eating regular food that their bodies treat as poison.
We don’t want to be at war with people, but we will be if necessary. We have to protect our children from life-threatening allergic reactions. We did not choose this path, but we must tread it carefully. The force is strong with us food allergy moms.
Most people are kind and understanding, but there are some out there who either don’t believe that children/people are dying from food allergies, or don’t really care because it doesn’t affect them. They represent the dark side of food allergies.
I will tell them to take a look at this list then get back to me. This list is real and heartbreaking, and doesn’t even contain all those we have lost to food allergies worldwide:
I have seen a few of these types of unkind people roll their eyes at me, or walk away when I’m discussing food allergies. I have read online comments on my blogs saying that maybe my son isn’t meant to survive if a nut can take him out.
Those types of comments are why we sometimes get angry. They are completely ignorant and devoid of any compassion. How could anyone want a child to die from a food allergy reaction? Why wouldn’t anyone do all they can to try to prevent this?
These types of comments or encounters put us in defensive mode. We never know what type of person we will encounter. We never know if those around our children will put their lives at risk without a second thought. Or if someone will instead offer their friendship and assistance in keeping our precious children alive.
Some of us also have children with no food allergies. I have a daughter who so far is fine. But, I know that could change any day. I didn’t become allergic to shellfish until I was 28 years old. I don’t worry about my daughter as much at school, etc because I know that she isn’t surrounded by food that can kill her. And though I still worry, it isn’t a constant fear like with my son. He cannot live a food free existence.
Some parents who don’t have kids with food allergies also get defensive right away. They think “who the hell are you to tell me what my kid can eat?” or “why do you have to ruin things/events/celebrations for all of the other kids?” I can understand having lots of questions concerning food allergies, and wondering why food has to be banned from classrooms, because my son wasn’t allergic to nuts until the age of 4.
What I cannot understand is why upon learning a child can die from food or food residue, some people get hostile and mean. Some people tell and share cruel jokes, and bully food allergy kids and their parents. Certain schools, airlines and sporting/entertainment venues have no consideration for those with food allergies.
This would not be acceptable for any other life-threatening condition or disease. So why is it okay concerning food allergies?
Are our children’s lives less important?
The answer is no. And if any moms were in our shoes, they would feel the same and do all they could to protect their child from harm. Unfortunately what harms our kids is certain foods that are everywhere, so we require help and understanding.
The force of good and trying to keep our children secure should be with all of us.
I promise you that I will do whatever I can to help keep your child safe. If you tell me that your child is allergic to bees- I will stand in front of them before I let them get stung. If you tell me your child runs out into the street a lot- I will keep an eye on them to make sure this doesn’t happen when I’m around. If a dangerous dog approaches, I will shield your child. If your child reaches for poison, I will quickly take it from their hands. The list goes on and on.
Why won’t some people do the same for me or my child? Why don’t they care about the lives of the 1 out of 13 children who have life-threatening food allergies? Why won’t they help to ease the burden of the millions of food allergy moms out there who are terrified of losing their children? Why won’t they at least listen or try to educate themselves about food allergies before pointing their fingers and rolling their eyes?
Seriously, why won’t they try to help instead of hurt us and our children? Please let me know, because I cannot think of one good reason.
Maybe these parents do not know all the facts, and how even a few particles of peanut or tree nut dust can harm or kill a child if ingested. They do not know that ingestion of an allergen like milk or egg can include just a little bite.
All they have to do is ask. All they have to do is believe us when we tell them our child’s lives are at stake.
I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t. If a parent walks up to me and says please put that away, or don’t eat it on the plane because it can kill my child- I’ll say sure, no problem. I’d say it now and I’ve said it before my child had food allergies.
It’s called common sense and decency. It’s caring about others, not just ourselves. It’s about not wanting a child to die. It’s about protecting children from harm.
That is what we all must focus on. The fact that children are dying from food allergies, and being rushed to hospitals every 3 minutes due to severe reactions.
So, let’s all put our preconceived notions and lack of information aside, and focus on helping children who have to live with food allergies day in and day out.
They desperately need our help. And a more compassionate/civilized society is their only hope.