Our post today is a guest blog entry from Rachel Miller, mother of three boys, one with food intolerances. We'd like to thank Rachel for guest blogging for us!
Mother’s Day: a day to celebrate my mother, my mother-in-law, my grandmothers and all the mothers in my life. It is a day where my children lay it on thick with their love, appreciation and generous amounts of yard-picked flowers. This year, however, as Mother’s Day approaches I cannot help but reflect on my own life as a mother, on my children, and on how our daily life has changed due to our food intolerant child.
I have been blessed beyond words; I am the mother of three amazing boys. Our third son, Edward, has food intolerances. He is a happy, healthy, spunky three-year-old, anxiously waiting to turn four and go to school like his older brothers. However, when he was just a few weeks old he was a miserable little guy with a host of painful problems. He had terrible tummy aches, frequent painful gas, reflux, eczema, stool changes, refusal to eat and colic. Our poor baby was never comfortable and had a terrible time trying to eat and sleep. Long story short, we found out our baby was having trouble digesting a variety of food proteins being transferred through my breast milk, and it was causing him pain. Since I was nursing him, I had the option of either eliminating the offending foods from my diet, or placing him on Neocate. I chose to continue nursing him, with the comfort of knowing that Neocate was available to our child if I was unsuccessful in an elimination diet. Through many trials, I was able to continue nursing and we were able to help Edward heal and thrive. I eliminated all sources of dairy, soy, egg, and nuts from my diet for two years.
Through this trying time as a parent, seeing my baby suffer, and then subsequently finding a way to help him, changed me; it changed our family. The old adage of your life is not your own once you have children, held new meaning for me. My body, my diet, the foods I was eating was no longer just about what sounded good to me, what I ate had a direct impact on my child. Clearly this is the case for every pregnant and nursing woman, but something about actually seeing the physical changes in my child, reacting to a food allergen, helped me see that fact as a reality.
Our experience with Edward also changed my older children. They too had concrete evidence that our bodies are complex and beautiful, and that food allergies are serious. They saw that a sip of cow’s milk would make their baby brother sick with stomach aches, or that the soy hidden in their crackers could make Edward break out in eczema. They became protective and interested in helping. Our older boys now know how to read food labels and are careful not to share food. It makes me proud as a mom to see their concern for their younger brother translate out into the real world and to the other children at school.
Again, we are blessed and lucky because now at three, Edward can eat soy, eggs and nuts with no problem. The only food he still has trouble digesting is cow’s milk, but even that is not as severe as when he was a baby. So this year on Mother’s Day I thank my children for their role in molding me into the mother that I am and will be. I thank Edward for his spunk and for being our superhero, bringing our family a new respect for food, our bodies and our health.
Read Comments (2)