This is a guest post from Jenny Shannon. We love sharing other people’s stories because it’s a great way for us (by us, we mean parents of kids with allergies, asthma, and eczema) to grow as a community, for others to learn about what we experience, and for awareness to increase so our kids are met with more support. As always, please check with your doctor before implementing ideas you see on Scratch or Sniff as we are not doctors, just your friends on the internet. :)
As if it wasn’t already hard enough. Having a newborn meant every article of clothing I owned donned a bodily secretion of some sort. I was so sleep deprived I had gone to the store to get a carton of eggs and left my wallet on the counter. Twice in one day. I was sore, I was frayed at the ends, I was lonely and to top it all off, there was something wrong with my little girl.
Moms always talk about poop. I swore when I became a mother, I wouldn’t be the one to talk about poop and all the other topics that made me cringe at the bar with my girlfriends who were already moms, praying no one else was overhearing our lame night out. I will now take the time to apologize to all of them. I understand.
My daughter couldn’t go to the bathroom. It was a strange problem for an exclusively breastfed child to have, and when she did go it was a painful affair. Then, it progressed into a frightening one with blood, with rectal prolapses, and other things that I, who gets queasy at even the suggestion of a nosebleed, would rather not relive. Ever. Again. We went to pediatrician after pediatrician and finally ended up at the Pediatric Gastroenterologist before we got an answer. For the first time, it was suggested to me that my little one might be suffering from a severe dairy intolerance. I was placed on a strict elimination diet of no dairy and minimal gluten, just in case.
Until then, I was under the impression that nursing moms had to up their dairy intake. My family members all but poured milk down my throat with antiquated platitudes and long held beliefs their mothers passed down to them. They didn’t know there was all the calcium I needed in a head of broccoli. Truthfully, I didn’t either. I felt as though I had failed my daughter by eating things that made her ill and suffered greatly under the brunt of others judgment concerning my decision.
Finally, I just had to make a choice. Live in fear of other’s opinions, or choose boldly to be proud of a decision that will benefit the health of my child? When phrased that way, there really wasn’t an option. Sure, I held a little funeral procession for the death of brie on toast and milk in my coffee. I shrunk a little in my seat when I had to turn down something offered to me in kindness that was not on my eating plan. But, three years later, she (and the rest of our little family, in solidarity) still remains mainly dairy-free and the difference is considerable. To date, there hasn’t been another episode that landed us in the hospital. That’s worth every single ice cream sundae we’ve collectively turned down. Even the ones with sprinkles.
Jenny Shannon is an educator, writer, home cook, wife to Mr. Incredible and Mama to Ellie, age three. She’s allergic to personal trainers and skinny jeans. She also has a blog of her own! Check her out at http://theshannonfamilytable.wordpress.com/.