As parents, worry is second nature to many of us. We have all experienced the terror of being a new parent. Imagine not knowing your child has an allergy, then all of a sudden they have a reaction to something. The feeling like you’re lost, the panic, the worry. That’s what happened to our wonderful mum Aimee, when her daughter developed a nut allergy. Her story is completely honest. She talks about the importance of looking after your mental health, which so many of us don’t do. As parents, we focus so much on our little ones that we put our own health on hold. On world mental health day we want to share Aimee’s story with you to show just how important getting help is.
Over to Aimee to share her story.
‘You always worry as a parent’
Everyone says it. ‘You always worry as a parent’ and ‘The worry never stops’, you smile and nod along not really understanding how true these statements are until you become a parent yourself. Well this was certainly the case for me. Allergies are strange things, and our daughters nut allergy changed my life completely.
As a newlywed and a young professional, I felt excited about becoming a parent for the first time. We painted the nursery, picked out a pram and excitedly awaited the arrival of our first baby. One Friday afternoon in April she arrived: pink and angry! A beautiful little thing that we called Matilda.
I hated being apart from her even for a minute
I remember crying and having such a rush of love. After two days we were allowed to go home to begin our parenting journey and this is when the worry began. I went from being a relatively cool and calm person to fretting about leaving her whilst I had a shower. I woke in the night panicking if she was still next to me in her basket and that she was breathing. When the heatwave struck in the summer, I spent hours googling how to keep a baby cool and worrying about the increased risk of SIDS. I hated being apart from her even for a minute.
Over time the worry got easier and I began to settle into life as a mum returning to work part time. All was well and we welcomed another baby; a son when Matilda was almost 2. Then everything changed. It was the end of a beautiful spring day which had been filled with laughter and sunshine and playing in the garden. That evening I prepared dinner for the family. Little did I know this one dinner would reveal a life changing allergy and ultimately change and impact our lives so hugely.
The mad rush to A&E
After a few mouthfuls Matilda began to rub her eyes. At first I thought she had some sun cream in it. Then we noticed hives around her neck and swelling to the lips. At this point we realized it was something serious and phoned 111, they advised us to get her straight to A and E. A mad dash in the car and we were there, she received immediate treatment and the doctors confirmed it was very likely to be an allergy. After tests it was confirmed a severe nut allergy and peanut allergy.
A carefree attitude to food disappeared and in its place came anxiety, guilt, sadness and anger. I never wanted to go through a nut allergy reaction again. It’s only in the last year I’ve tried to use these feelings into doing something productive and positive. Last summer I began fundraising for Allergy UK and ran the Great North Run to raise funds for this fantastic charity.
You are not alone
From this came Allergy Stars; I wasn’t really sure of what I wanted to create, other than a space for parents in similar situations. For parents to know they are not alone. From this, the sharing of the star began and our beautiful, brave children share their allergies and stories. This is what motivates me to raise awareness because of eventful night three years ago.
I’ll admit I didn’t know much about food allergies and the risks of cross contamination. Three years on, at times I feel like I’m navigating a stormy sea stormy sea as we have entered the world of schooling, birthday parties and more independence. I don’t want her nut allergy to change her or stop her doing things with her peers. As a family we have become stronger, motivated to just be happy and healthy!
My daughter is my inspiration. She is amazing with how she deals with her allergies and has adapted so well. I wish I had some of her strength. I’m not ashamed to say I recently reached a pit of anxiety and recognised I needed some help to come to terms with everything. To give my daughter the independence and freedom she deserves.
CBT and counselling have helped me hugely
CBT and counselling have helped me hugely and I am thankful for that. I want other parents and carers to know they are not alone it will get easier and that you can navigate these new , stormy seas. Yes the worry never really stops as a parent especially as a parent of a child with allergies. There is a constant anxiety there which needs to be managed. As parents we have to adjust our sails to face the stormy sea.
If you would like to chat to Aimee about her experiences, you can follow her on Instagram.
Have you had to deal with an allergy? How do you find parenting? Do you worry about climate change? Have you changed your habits for the good of the planet? Maybe you have experience with having grandchildren? We would love to hear from you. Contact us with your story.
Our Eco nappies and wipes are certified hypoallergenic – approved by the Danish Asthma & Allergy Association. They are great for parents who worry! Check them out here.