Food Allergy Parents - Q&A with Kirsty
Food Allergy Parents
On the run up to Mother’s Day it got us thinking about all of the wonderful parents out there who are bringing up a child with food allergies and intolerances.
One of the most daunting and scary things to find out as a parent is that your child has a food intolerance or allergy. Suddenly, you have a huge additional responsibility on your shoulders to keep your child safe from foods which could be potentially life threatening. Your whole lifestyle must change at the drop of a hat, you need to quickly become knowledgeable about reading food labels and understanding which ingredients/foods to avoid in everyday life. For anybody who hasn’t had prior experience with food allergies, it can feel incredibly overwhelming. What would normally be a simple decision about what to give your child for lunch or dinner actually becomes a source of anxiety or stress.
Food allergies are particularly hard for families. Mistakes can have serious consequences. Trying to avoid food allergens is often stressful, simply because the stakes can be high (not to mention the frustrations of navigating a sea of “may contain” statements on food labels).
It’s not uncommon to feel a sense of sadness, as for many there’s a loss of normality and spontaneity. While other parents are treating their child to ice creams or pizzas, you need to stop and make sure it’s safe first. Much of life revolves around food, such as birthday parties, dining out, celebrations, family days out and handling a food allergy in the midst of these events can often feel frustrating, burdensome and lonely.
Although keeping your child away from food-induced harm is never-ending work, much of which can sometimes go uncredited, once we start to increase our knowledge, get creative with food and understand ways to manage our fears, it does get easier as it starts to become the norm and anxiety does lessen.
It’s been a lived experience for Kirsty for the past 15 years, her son Jacob was diagnosed with a severe nut allergy and dairy intolerance at just 9 months old. Here, in this Q&A, Kirsty gives an honest account of her experience of being a food allergy mum, including how she copes, emotions she felt and advice to other food allergy parents in the hope it may relieve some of the fear or worries.
This Mothers Day, we want to celebrate ALL food allergy parents out there, we think you’re amazing and you really do an incredible job!