Talking Allergies

Parent guilt
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Author:  Becky [ Sat May 08, 2010 6:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

I can so relate to this thread! I craved PB&J on toast with a big glass of milk mid afternoon. I had heard mixed things about eating peanuts when pregnant, but I rationalized that is would be a gentler way to expose it to DS than orally later on. I totally regret my decision. :(

Author:  BC2007 [ Sat May 08, 2010 7:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

I used to really blame myself for his allergies thinking.. I ate hummus - he's allergic to chick peas and sesame, I ate salmon and poached eggs - both he WAS allergic to, I ate the odd toast with peanut butter - he's allergic to peanuts, I ate trail mix - he's allergic to all tree nuts (of course I ignore the fact that the trail mix was almost all sunflower seeds (which ironically he is not allergic to...using my guilt logic I dismiss that fact and focus instead on the odd tree nut it also contained). I never ate seafood while pregnant and he is allergic to seafood, I don't eat marshmallows and he's allergic to gelatin.....I should have realized my theory was debunked right there. I ate about 1000 different food items when pregnant and he isn't allergic all of them. They way I thought really isn't rational. If I caused his allergies he would be allergic to hundreds of foods, according to my own theory - anything I ate while pregnant he should be allergic to. It took me a long time to put the guilt aside and think of it rationally, I drank milk, I ate cheese/sour cream/yogurt...he's not allergic to dairy. I ate tofu - he's not allergic to soy. It is almost like I was finding a way to make the connection from something I ate while pregnant to link it to why he has allergies.
On the other hand, I ate peanut butter and nuts and sesame snacks/hummus all the time while pregnant with our daughter....11 years ago it wasn't even widely suggested not to eat nuts etc. while pregnant. She has no allergies....again, if I was rational I'd really see that it wasn't what I ate or she'd have allergies too... but.....the mama guilt still creeps in there when I think of our DS and his allergies, against all reason and logic I start thinking and over thinking leaving myself pondering what I did or could have done differently.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Sun May 09, 2010 7:20 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

I think that as mothers, there isn't a single thing that we wouldn't do for our children.

We look down at that baby, just a few minutes old, and we feel an overwhelming desire to protect them from lifes harms and I don't know if that feeling ever goes away as they grow and become adults...I'll let you know in 10-20 years.

I do know that the other side of that coin is feeling that we feel responsible for not preventing the injuries.

Author:  buzimom_2000 [ Tue May 11, 2010 3:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

Goodness, we have so much more to worry about than "what was" - you can't change the challenges we have as food-allergic parents, but you can change the outcomes for your child and perhaps make more persons aware. I have 5 boys, the youngest is the ONLY one with food allergies - so what did I do different? He is also the ONLY one that I had a high risk pregnancy - what did I do different? He is also the ONLY one with ADHD - what did I do different? He is also the only one that was born with a manageable birth defect - what did I do different? I can honestly say nothing...I am handling each of these challenges with due diligence, and man o man, am I good at research now...much more than dealing with the challenges I had with my other children...I am so grateful for the changes my youngest has made into our lives - we are so more conscious of food preparation, labels, safety protocols, legislations, drugs, travel - all those minute details that we take for granted...rejoice in the changes in awareness your allergic child has made in your lives - think of all those things that you weren't aware of before, and all that you will learn in future- don't beat yourself up over "what was" - you can't alter that...

mother of 5 boys- only the youngest is allergic to peanuts, shellfish

Author:  bassicmama [ Tue May 11, 2010 4:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

This thread has been a big help to me, and I can totally relate. I love peanuts, nuts, and all things nuts. PB, nutcracker nuts, Nutella, Reese's, Ferraro Rocher, you name it. While I was pregnant with DD1, I ate a lot of PB on my toast. And in those hazy days after she was born, when DH was away for a week of training the day after we got out of the hospital and she wasn't gaining due to poor latch, I was staying at my mom's, we were moving within a month, I had nurses and LCs and dr visits and pumping and nursing and pure exhaustion and fear, I wasn't eating that great. Mostly things like...trail mix, handy to eat while BFing for those long 1.5hr feeds every couple hrs. I noticed when she was a few days old that her entire body was covered in a bumpy rash, I didn't know what it was from, but gradually connected it to the trail mix. I had some a week or two later, and she broke out again. I should have realized then that it was a nut allergy. :( I did keep her from nuts til she was 2, and after she got eczema from it I didn't let her have any more. But if she was reacting like that at birth, I should have talked to a dr about getting her tested so we knew for sure! And I feel like all those nuts I ate while pg/BFing contributed to creating that allergy. I've beat myself up over that for a long time, its not easy to just DECIDE not to feel guilty anymore! :?

Author:  WonderMom [ Tue May 18, 2010 8:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

My ds who is now 10 months old, was diagnosed with food allergies at 6 mons old. He began to exhibit symptoms of eczema between 3 and 4 months of age. It seems at every turn there are new allergies popping up. Foods he had been ok with are now causing issues. I am scared to try new foods out with him or reintroduce foods we have stopped due to questions about possible reactions. I am still breastfeeding and have eliminated all foods he allergic to from my diet but in order to not lose even more weight than I already have my diet is still a bit different than his. I keep hoping this will get easier but that does not seem to be the case. It is worst feeling in the world when strangers ask "what's wrong with his face"? I blame myself at every turn, I should have eaten better while pregnant and in the beginning not eaten so much dairy while breastfeeding. My husband wishes he would have encouraged me to not work while pregnant. There are so many what ifs, I could go crazy.

I hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Author:  _Susan_ [ Wed May 19, 2010 6:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

Welcome Erin! Aren't strangers something? If you feel compelled to tell them, you can simply say "It's eczema, it's not contagious." I would hesitate to get into long conversations with strangers because they will invariably tell you what you did wrong or of some 'treatment'. They usually mean well but do they really thinnk they know more than your Dr? Thank them for there concern and move on...

Of course you and your husband wish there was something you both could have done differently. I think it's natural to want to be able to take control over a situation that is causing our children's health to be compromised. Personally, we did everything that was recommended at the time, yet here we are. No one wakes up thinking "How can I screw up my child's life today?" Yet, we beat our selves up.

I think, parental guilt is the minds way of trying to turn fear and frustration into something we can act upon. Unfortunately, until we have more data, we are like sails twisting in the wind.

I really wish I could be more positive.

Author:  cauger [ Wed May 19, 2010 8:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

If it helps at all, I don't think the working while pregnant has anything to do with it, because I was on preventative leave while I was pregnant because my job is potentially dangerous, and I didn't work a day past 11 weeks, and my daughter still has allergies.. I drank a ton of milk, though, because I figured the calcium would help. Even if there is something in retrospect that I should have done, but didn't or vice versa, I can't change the past.

I'm still afraid of trying new foods with our daughter. I have eliminated things I know have nothing to do with allergies (like ketchup given at 14 months, which I gave her again last week and she was fine with it. Or pineapple, which is still stopped until the allergist...) Every time she wakes up in the night coughing (she has a cold) I worry that it's a delayed reaction to something, but have to resist going in to check on her because then she'll never go back to sleep.. I worry that because she's in a crib, she wont come and let me know if she's itchy from something, but honestly, it just makes me a nervous wreck most of the time. And with #2 now, I don't know how i'll deal with introducing foods, but at least i'll have epi-pens if I need them and the pediatrician said i can use them on the baby if she is having dificulty breathing. Parenting young ones with allergies isn't easy..

Author:  BC2007 [ Wed May 19, 2010 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

I was wondering about other parents guilt when eating their child's allergens. I find that even the thought of eating peanut butter or nuts repulses me. I used to LOVE LOVE LOVE nuts and peanut butter . Sesame seeds and peas also leave me feeling repulsed just thinking about eating them. But.........I have eaten marshmallows, shrimp and crab (not at home) without any guilt or nausea. Also foods which he is equally allergic to!!!
So what I am wondering is if my mind is unknowingly repelling anything food/allergen our son has had a reaction to with anaphylactic symptoms but not his allergen (shellfish) which he has never yet had a reaction to? I wondered if that is why I don't have the same mental trauma related to shellfish? Even though he has needed epinephrine 3x due to vaccines (gelatin) I don't have an issue eating (again not at home) marshmallows or jello. I was wondering if my mind doesn't associate the gelatin in the vaccines with a different product such as jello as he luckily has never been exposed to jello or marshmallows so I don't yet correlate his allergy with those foods.
Could my mind be this complex :scratchy .

.....and Erin :huggy
Our son's eczema was so bad as an infant that people would ask me if I burnt him by accident. His face was raw and gross. No matter what cream the doctor gave us (thinking it was a yeast infection) or telling us to try things like polysporun nothing worked but only made it worse. Know in your heart that you are doing everything you can for your little one. Our son reacted to literally everything from 6 months to about 2 yrs old. Our allergist even had him do oral challenges in his office for things he didn't test positive to but was reacting to to see for himself. Tomatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, spices ..mostly nightshade family, paprika, chili etc. (sesame free) , meat, eggplant, corn , bananas, strawberry, the list went on and on. Just this past spring our son has wanted to try more foods and after letting him eat banana and strawberries and suck on a tomato he was fine. So hopefully you will soon be able to narrow down the foods he reacts to and the foods he is anaphylactic to. I know what you are going through, hang in there and we are all here for you.

Author:  paige H [ Wed May 19, 2010 1:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

I do remember back when my children were little and a stranger would say something. I always wished I had something to say. I soon borrowed my friends reply. Polite and to the point.
"DO I KNOW YOU ?" To me that just means it's not your business so get out of our face and mind your own business.
As far as eating an allergy item for my family the shoe is on the other foot. Since I have the allergy and my children do not they get to eat items that I cannot have. Though I do not have nuts... in my home, they do have opportunity to have my allergy items at family dinners... I find myself sitting on edge sometimes so fear filled that they will have a reaction. They are not preschoolers with little exposure they are in their teens and should be fine. It is just the way the mother worry/guilt goes. I guess a mother is always on guard, wanting to prevent and protect. That's what we do. :thumbsup

Author:  _Susan_ [ Wed May 19, 2010 2:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

I will on occassion eat foods dd is alergic to, but the enjoyment is usually short lived. I feel so dirty! :oops More like contaminated!

Dd asks me to put soymilk in my coffee so I can kiss her good night with her can I refuse? There won't be that many more years of good night kisses.

Author:  Becky [ Sat May 22, 2010 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

I am totally nauseated by the thought of eating nuts or peanuts, even though I use to love both (and DS is not allergic to tree nuts).

Author:  BC2007 [ Tue May 25, 2010 1:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

Talk about guilt......I just took two tylenol and finished a really good cry. For the past two weeks our DS has refused to eat, we have so much trouble in general getting him to eat but normally buttered toast, my home made cookies/muffins are fine. He has refused everything for 2 weeks and when he does even lick something (as he usually does before eating since a baby being so nervous of food) he gags and gags then throws up. I don't know where my lapse came, I mean I watch him like a hawk for allergic reactions but somehow I was assuming that by gagging he was almost causing himself to throw up. The worst part is that he is so anxious about all food lately that even if I bring him his yogurt which he normally will eat two containers a day he won't touch it. So this afternoon I made bread and asked him to try to eat, he had one lick of buttered bun and gagged then threw up. All of a sudden the light bulb went off and I re-read the container, sure enough, the new margarine we bought a couple weeks ago has gelatin in it. I made his cookies/muffins with this marg., I buttered his toast with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I feel so guilty I can't even say, here I am worried about what other people may do which could cause him to have a reaction and I'm ramming 4x a day something with gelatin in it into his mouth. I really thought he was just getting pickier and pickier. I should know from him having so many reactions in the past that he is usually dead on when refusing food but somehow with my assumption that everything was the 'same' (all ingredients) I just assumed it was him. He also has without fail since 6 months always had rash/hives with each and every reaction. Sure he has had much more serious symptoms such as vomiting, swelling, gagging, pulling his tongue, asthma as well as rash and hives but never has he not had them. He was so consistent that our allergist and family Dr. even gave me the basic rule of thumb for epipen use (specifically for our son), anything above and beyond rash and hives required epipen as rash/hives were so 'normal' for him . Now I realize that without the rash/hives I wasn't taking his reactions seriously or even considering that they were in fact allergic reactions. He has had endless reactions since infancy and I realized now that I can't become complacent to one rule of thumb. Wow, lesson learnt.
I don't know how the change in margarine was missed by us, we usually read everything over and over and over. I am so embarrassed by my oversight and feel so badly to have made him sick. :cry:

.....add it to his therapy bill!! :?

Author:  paige H [ Tue May 25, 2010 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

BC2007 Guilty can only go with intent. There for you have nothing to feel guilty about. It is just an eye opener that we always need to keep on our toes. You know what it is now, no point dwelling on it, just like worry it serves no purpose.
It will get easier when he is old enough to tell you what is going on. It is hard enough when a reaction happens to someone who can speak and articulate what is happening, but your son is far to young for that so give yourself a break it is a big job that you are doing. :thumbsup

Author:  BC2007 [ Wed May 26, 2010 7:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Parent guilt

AAAA, went to the Dr. last night...I had booked an appt. worried about DS the past two weeks. His constant runny nose, being cranky, waking up at night, not eating...I had (before my margarine discovery) thought maybe an ear tube had come out and he had another ear infection!!!!! I felt like a complete fool sitting there telling her about the gelatin. She strongly felt that all the symptoms the past two weeks have been his fighting the constant 'assault' of margarine. What I thought was ears keeping him up at night she pointed out was probably a stomach ache. OMG OMG OMG.

Thank you Paige for your kind words and for reminding me that you can only feel guilty if with intent. If not guilty then I guess I feel AWFUL!!!
Why is it that in retrospect everything seems so clear yet at the time there are 100 other ways to rationalize. He's got the stomach flu, or when he would sniff it or lick it and cry then I started to become annoyed that he was getting even picker with his eating. I even thought it was a game to hide when I wanted to feed him as he'd run off and hid behind something or pull keep turning away from me. :oops :oops If someone else posted this I would think, wow, it was pretty clear what was going on, how could she have missed that!!!!
I mean, he's never been wrong before when refusing food, why did no warning bells go off. Again, in retrospect it is so easy for me to see what was going on, so clear that it seems ridiculous I missed it. Our family Dr. is amazing, she never made me feel stupid quite the opposite, I did nevertheless. I have been hitting my head on the wall since yesterday afternoon. :banghead

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