I recently saw a Facebook friend post a meme that said “If my child can’t bring peanut butter to school, your’s shouldn’t be allowed to bring preventable diseases.” Now, I am not someone to get worked up about a silly Facebook post. With this election year, it takes a lot to shock me in terms of stupidity and social media. However, this one really one made my blood boil.
Let’s talk about peanut allergies, shall we?
This is not a conversation about vaccines, but I’d like to put out there that I am, indeed, very pro-vaccination. And if you don’t vaccinate, please don’t stop reading here. I just want to point out that these are two totally different issues. It is ignorant to assume that because a child has a life-threatening food allergy, that their parents must be a part of the anti-vaccination movement.
Choosing to vaccinate your child is exactly that: a choice. Children (and adults for that matter) who are allergic to peanuts do not choose to have a life-threatening food allergy.
Did you notice I used the words life-threatening? My son has a peanut (and tree nut) allergy and he could DIE if he came in contact with peanut butter. I find it so hard to understand how other parents can have no compassion for kids with these types of allergies.
My son has had one anaphylactic reaction to peanuts and, without a doubt, that was the scariest day of my life. My then one-year-old baby was choking and covered in hives from head to toe, to the point that he was barely recognizable, as we rushed him to the hospital. I have never feared for my child’s life more than I did that day.
Since then, we have had a few close encounters. But thank goodness, my baby boy has not had to endure such a traumatizing experience since that day we learned of his allergy.
He is now three and I am scared to death to send my son to school. I have thoughts of well-meaning parents sending Snicker’s bars and Reese’s cups as treats for holiday parties. I have fears of my (very affectionate) son kissing another child on the playground who just ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. These are legitimate fears, people. This is one of our reasons for not starting preschool this year.
As we approach back-to-school time, I can’t ask you enough to share this post with your friends and family. There are families like mine all over the world that deserve to get their story out. Peanut-allergy families are not the enemy. We’re just moms and dads trying to keep our kids alive. Isn’t that a commonality that we all share as parents?
You can read more on my Confessions of a Peanut-Allergy Mom here. Also, keep in mind that sunflower butter is an awesome, school-friendly substitute for pb&j sandwiches. 😉