Why We Still Smile On

When I first started this journey of motherhood, I never knew the person that I would and could become.   I could not even begin to imagine all of the experiences that I would encounter and the lessons that I would learn whether I was ready or not.   Before all of this began, I was a rather simple person on the outside: I loved my family and friends, running, listening and helping people through problems, teaching, tutoring, drinking wine, eating pizza and spending time with my best friend/husband.    However, like most people, I was and am a much more complicated person on the inside.   From as early as I can remember, I was always a deep thinker with a lot more to say that ever came through to my lips. Sometimes, if I catch myself in the right moment, I put these thoughts to “paper.” Back in 2014 when giving my breastfeeding support group friends a long-winded update on my son’s food allergies and our journey together with it, I made fun of how wordy I can be. I said that, I should start a blog instead of pestering them with my rants. So that was exactly what I did!

Then, it stuck…. it was something that I knew I had to do.  While there is a lot of information out there about food allergies, much of it is very conflicting.   Everyone has a different theory, suggestion, and plan of action.   Often, when I first told people about my son’s allergies, they would say, “Did you eat a lot of peanuts and eggs during pregnancy?” Or, “so you are definitely going to start him on formula now right?” Or even the doctor who thought it would be funny to make the joke only two days after my son’s food reaction. “What did Mommy eat or not eat during pregnancy to cause this?” He asked my son and I held back tears before coming home and losing it to my husband. Mommy guilt is no fun! (Looking back at this, I know this doctor did not mean anything by the comment at all.   At that time, I was not ready to understand that.)

 

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Due to these questions and a lot of this mommy guilt, I spent much of December and January trying to defend myself to others as a good person who hardly ever ate eggs or peanuts during my pregnancy.   Or, explaining why I chose to continue to breastfeed through these allergies.   I was trying to explain myself to everyone to prove that I did not cause this and I was not an awful mom.   It was exhausting in itself; let alone the fact that I was on a strict elimination diet and dealing with all the fear and anxiety that comes with food allergies.   I knew I had to change my thinking about it all. I knew I needed to research more and learn as much as I could about all of this.   I knew, as hard as it may be, I could not sit around and feel bad for myself and try to defend myself to others.

While I spent the first month doing this, I have learned to take this whole experience on quite differently.  I could and can no longer selfishly wish away the rest of my son’s first year to be at 12 months so that we could retest again.   I needed to learn to love every second with him like I had before all of this and stop living in fear.   Therefore, I started to research and reach out to a lot of people.   Many people had a story similar to ours; however, none exactly the same.  

But, whose story is ever is?

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That is the beauty of this life.   Everyone has a story so uniquely different from everyone else. However, everyone’s story deserves to be heard and told.  I found I was able to relate to each of the food allergy stories that I heard on some kind of level, learning something from everyone.   That is why I want to share our story.   If it encourages, educates, or motivates one person out there, it will be worth it.   Even if that one person is me.  Also, I can stop sending people novels about food allergies when they simply ask how my son is doing. =)

Last, but definitely not least, I have been and continue to be inspired by my now four year old son each and every day, even though the name of my blog has changed. You see, throughout all of our emergency room trips, endless doctor and allergist appointments, and even the worst of days, he always smiles on. 

It is in his smile that I first learned of my own courage to do so too.

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That is why I first chose to call our story, “Smiling Away Allergies.” However, food allergies does not and cannot define us because we have learned to embrace life throughout all the stages… as we are now learning to love it all, including our beautiful mess. 

TJ CARTOON WHY WE SMILE ON

33 thoughts on “Why We Still Smile On

  1. tomashiar

    I really liked this post. For one I breastfeed all my kids so I totally get your determination to do that. I think this is good information. I’m actually dealing with my two older children with eczema so I look forward to reading more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you so much for taking the time to reading my blog and respond. Your comment is motivating and very much appreciated. I will definitely continue to share everything I learn about eczema. 😄

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for your sweet comment. I never thought that I would become such a big advocate for breastfeeding; however, I have seen the amazing advantages that it had for us. While I know it is not for everyone, it was perfect for us and I now understand why some choose to breastfeed their toddlers. Anyways, thank you for your encouragement and reading my blog. I appreciate it more than you know.

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      1. Cathy Lynn Brooks

        I breast fed both my children and now my daughter is breast feeding my 4 month old grandson. I do think it’s for everyone but new moms get scared and don’t feel confident at first. They need a lot of encouragement and support and unfortunately many give up. I know it must be very hard to manage feeding a child who has allergies but I really want to you educate others who want to blame you. You did everything right and please don’t let anyone make you feel guilty.

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thanks Jamie for your sweet comment and for always listening to me randomly venting. I really appreciate it ❤️

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for this sweet comment and for reading. I agree trusting in God is the only path and where I try to always put my mind even when anxiety creeps in. Thanks again for your kind words. I really appreciate it!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
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  3. Kellie

    I have so felt all of that before. And your son is adorable. Living with allergies is hard, but we have found so much joy in finding new foods (even thought the frustrations are still there about not being able to eat what others eat). But we make it work and live healthy happy lives.

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  5. Elouise

    Mommy guilt stinks! Thanks for telling it like it is. You’re a highly sensitive person (I think), and much of what passes for ‘humor’ really isn’t–because it hurts people just when they need affirmation and support. So glad you decided to blog! It seems just right for many reasons. And yes, TJ is a cutie!
    Elouise

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    Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      I am a very sensitive person and it wasn’t until this year that I learned to love that about myself. With that being said, those first months after TJ’s anaphylactic reaction, I was not ready for those kind of comments yet. I needed support. This experience has also taught me to not take life and myself too seriously …. And to find humor in every day “things.” Thank you for reading, your comment and compliment 😄

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  6. ljdove23

    Loved reading this, you sound like an amazing mummy to your gorgeous boy!! My eldest daughter has struggled with dairy allergies and my youngest daughter spent the first year of her life in and out of hospital with various issues including allergies. Now my youngest son has severe exzema and we are battling to discover if he has allergies also. It’s nice to know I’m not alone, thank you for sharing. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you so much for the kind words and compliments. How old is your youngest son? Does your allergist do testing before introducing foods or doesn’t believe in that? If I am blessed enough to have more children, I often think about whether or not they will also have allergies. Thank you for sharing 😄 you are definitely not alone !

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  7. Karin

    Thanks for sharing. And what a difficult situation! Amazing that you bring up so much faith and courage.

    I have only little experience with food allergies. I had developed an allergy to broccoli at age of twenty-something. In my case, it vanished after homeopathic treatment. I have also heard of cases of hay fever being treated successfully with homeopathy. So, maybe that would be one option to explore.

    Best wishes for your journey,
    Karin

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    Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. My husband had severe eczema as a child and an egg allergy. His parents went the homeopathic route around the age of 7 or 8 I believe. It is definitely something I continue to research and may decide to venture into once my son is a bit older. Thank you for your suggestion and briefly sharing your experience. I really appreciate it.

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      What were your early signs? Or was this based on your own experiences with food allergies? I breastfed until 13.5 months when he was about to eat soy. I give people who breastfeed on an elimination diet a lot of credit. I did it for 6 months and wanted to continue. However, at that time it was best for us to stop. Thank you for sharing.

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      1. thatnewcrunchymom

        We are going based off of our own allergies. Our son has already had 2 reactions (hives) and he’s only had 4 foods. My allergies developed out of the blue and went from hives to full blown anaphylaxis within a month. I’m not sure about how my husband’s progressed. It’s difficult to keep my milk supply up, I’m basically on a modified AIP/Paleo diet with extra potatoes.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

        Oh wow! That is scary! When I was on the elimination diet when breastfeeding, it amazed me at how much extra I needed to eat. I can imagine you having to extra even more. I give you so much credit for battling through it =) Amazing job!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. thatnewcrunchymom

        I went no grains or dairy (I was able to do dairy for about 12 weeks – 6 before delivery and 6 postpartum) after my son was born and my supply tanked. I felt like I didn’t have a choice breastfeeding, because I knew my son would most likely be allergic to the ingredients in any formula. It was a very hard place to be. 😦 Everyone congratulates me on loosing all my baby weight (and more), but it makes me sad to think about. I wanted to keep at least 5 pounds more than my pre-pregnancy weight, but it was impossible because of dietary restrictions. What is your favorite allergy-free dish?

        Liked by 1 person

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  9. Laduchessederat

    Allergy is such a complex matter. There are so many kind of allergies and reaction patterns. I have rarely found a general doctor who understands it and allergologists are scarce in my city (3 for a half million people town !). With the years I have come to understand that we are the very first makers of our own allergy less life. I keep educating myself and never forget to ask questions about what I am eating. You’d be surprised to learn how many doctors do not know the difference between an hystaminic reaction and an immune reaction when it comes to treating allergies.

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing. I agree that many people are still very unaware or in some cases ignorant to how serious food allergies can be. Did you yourself always an allergy to celery ? I myself have never had any food allergies but my husband had and has some. Interestingly enough while breastfeeding I developed some eczema which I had never had before this.

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      1. Laduchessederat

        Well, fluids are exchanged during breastfeeding, so some of the baby’s white cells might have entered you system, hence your eczema.My celeri allergy is recent. I discovered it after eating potato/celeri purée. It’s the thing with allergy, it can be triggered anytime.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

        I meant the breastfeeding exchange. As far as allergies being triggered at any point, that’s why more people need to be aware of this! You hear more and more about that happening these days.

        Liked by 1 person

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