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Allergies Lead to a New Normal

Shari Macneall

Parenting comes with endless joy and at times anxiety and fear for our children’s safety and well-being.

Receiving a diagnosis that your child has a life-threatening allergy is life-altering. I remember getting a call from my son’s daycare that I needed to “come quickly” as he had tried a bite of kiwi and was immediately covered in hives from head to toe. The drive across town was a blur. Nobody in our family has allergies, especially to something as seemingly innocuous as fruit.

After a consultation with the allergist, it was confirmed that he has several severe food allergies. We were given a prescription for an EpiPen and told that from this day forward he would need to carry this with him as a life-saving precaution. I don’t remember anything about the rest of the day, aside from weeping as we cleaned out our cupboards with bleach, apparently, many of the foods we used on a daily basis could be fatal if consumed.

We need to mourn the lifestyle we were accustomed to

Fast-forward ten years, our initial shock, dismay and utter disbelief have been replaced with joy. Lucas is a happy healthy child who has learned to read labels like a pro, ask lots of questions and be proactive in keeping himself safe. He has developed the confidence to advocate for himself and to minimize his risks while enjoying new life experiences.

Sometimes as parents we need to mourn the lifestyle we were accustomed to before we could accept and embrace our new reality. There are things that happen in our lives that we don’t anticipate, which could include our children’s health, development or a change in our family dynamics. By honouring our feelings we are in a better position to move forward to embrace our new normal.