Wednesday, January 13, 2016

5 Things Things My Son's Life Threatening Food Allergies Have Taught Me About Motherhood

They say that motherhood changes you. I don't know that any of us really quite understand just how much until we are given the role of "Momma".  From the second we see those two pink lines, we are different.  No longer are we responsible for the health and well being of one precious human life -- but now two (or more)!  It is a privilege and an honor to raise tiny humans. 

We take care, making sure that our babies are healthy and strong from the second we find out we are carrying them.  We cut back on caffeine, we stop drinking wine -- (that's a big deal, friends).  We swallow ginormous prenatal vitamins to make sure that our babies are getting all that they need as they grow beneath our hearts.  Once they arrive, we do everything possible to make sure they are safe.  We wash tiny baby clothes in expensive, dye free detergent, we check the labels on the soaps we use in their baths, we debate -- to vaccine or not to vaccine, we buy organic and are certain that we're feeding them the very best. 

So what happens when we are forced to face the unthinkable?  The food we have been feeding our children has actually been harming them.  That it could kill them
For years my husband and I watched our daughter writhe in pain from the food she was eating.  For three long years we questioned what we were doing wrong.  And then one day we finally, thankfully, got answers.  You can read Mackenzie's story here

Today, I am honored to introduce you to my friend Lindsey.  This past year, Lindsey discovered that her youngest son Bowan has life threatening food allergies. I have watched Lindsey as she has had to reconfigure what motherhood looks like for her in light of this revelation. Lindsey is strong and brave and she is an amazing momma.  She is the best momma for Bowan, even on the scary, hard days.  Today she shares the 5 things she has learned since Bowan's diagnoses. 

When my youngest son, Bowan was diagnosed with multiple anaphylactic food allergies, it changed me.  it broke me.  It impacted me in a way that not many things have or probably ever will.  But, in the pain I’ve also found good.  Managing my son’s life threatening food allergies has taught me a lot about motherhood + for that I am thankful.
1. Motherhood is hard.

Before Bowan’s food allergies were diagnosed, I would think, why is motherhood so hard? What am I doing wrong to make my motherhood experience so difficult? Now,  I’ve just accepted that motherhood is hard.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well.  I want to love my kids well.  With the added pressure + responsibility all that goes into my son’s allergies - research of how foods are processed, keeping my toddler out of reach from his allergens at all times + the understanding of an action plan if anaphalyxis occurs.  With this acceptance has also come the surrender of my previous conception of motherhood.  To now knowing that motherhood just plain includes hard times.

2. Motherhood is joyful.
There is so much joy to be found in motherhood.  The tiny voices, the soft sweet skin, the crazy + creative ideas they come up with, the sibling bonds.  It’s all beautiful.  It can be hard at tamest believe that joy is everywhere in motherhood.  But, it is.  The joy is in the big + small moments.  Joy is found in watching my oldest son practice using the Epi Pen trainer.  I absolutely wish the food allergies didn’t have to be part of our life.  But, they are.  It brings me joy to see my oldest son, Breck take responsibility + care deeply for his little brother.
3. To just be.  

Motherhood has taught me to just be.  Be in the here + now.  Be in the what is.  I’ve learned to not wish away my present circumstance. This is so hard + it takes time + commitment to be accepting of what is.  I can often struggle with this.  But, I can’t wish Bowan’s food allergies away.  And, if I get stuck + start wishing them away, it does nothing other than make my present experience darker.  His allergies are a reality of my life + it is my responsibility to be vigilant + care for his special needs that his allergies require.  I’m just learning to be the best I can be in the current circumstances.
4. To listen to my gut.

When Bowan was first diagnosed with anaphylactic allergies to peanut + egg, my gut said, he must have more allergies.  I already knew that allergic kids typically have multiple allergies.  I thought, I know he has more.  That’s why he’s refused so much of the food I’ve tried to feed him.  That’s why he throws food across the kitchen.  To our first skin testing appointment, I brought a list of suspected foods that I wanted him tested for.  The allergist said, I only have 1% of my patients allergic to many of these foods.I thought, that 1% of your patients are still people + they are someone’s kids.  And, just because the allergies are more “rare” doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  They still impact people.  My voice inside wouldn’t quiet.  I knew I needed to do something.  I knew my gut feelings were there for a reason, even though I didn’t want to believe them.  I found a new allergist that would listen to me + confirmed my gut feelings were right.  The more I listen to my gut, my own voice, the clear that voice is.

5. We can be strong.
When Bowan’s allergies were first diagnosed, I didn’t want to be strong.  I didn’t want to find the strength to accept that my son can die from a tiny amount of peanut.  But, an experienced allergy mom gave me incredible advice that helped me change my perspective.  She said, Lindsey, you have to be strong.  You can’t be afraid of giving Bowan the Epi Pen.  I know it’s terrifying to put a large needle in your son’s leg during an emergency.  One day you’re going to need to do this.  And, when you do, you will save Bowan’s life.  You can do it.  With each day, with each success + failure + difficult experience + beautiful experience, I find my strength.  I try to build on it.  Most importantly, I try to remember it’s always there.  Things that are hard are meant to change us.  They are meant to make us grow.  Through the difficult times in motherhood we can find our strength.  In our strength we can do great things.

Lindsey Lee is a Michigan farm girl at heart, turned Colorado mountain mom of boys.  She has more toy garbage trucks in her house that you ever knew existed.  She loves skiing and hiking with her husband, Andrew + two boys, Breck + Bowan.  She's a yogi that's learned she needs to get on her mat + get upside down to be the best mom + woman she can be. Lindsey is embracing the fact that she is a creative at heart + loving it.  Lindsey's two sons are healthy + strong + so lovable.  Her youngest son has multiple life threatening food allergies.  Lindsey is a food allergy + health advocate. 
Say hi on Instagram @lindseyleeleigh to see the new adventures of Breck + Bowan and to also hear some of Lindsey's authentic motherhood experiences.  Follow @lindseyleeandco for allergy friendly ideas + healthy recipes for your whole family.  Lindsey blogs at Lindsey Lee & Co.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this here today. Her story is inspiring and gives hope to so many of the mamas including me that have little ones with food allergies. Education is key and teaching others about food allergies so our little ones and big ones are safe makes so many families lives better. Great post! Nicole