A Parent’s Dilemma
I wrote this post on Medium back in 2020.
I re-read it this week – and realised even more so now how relevant it still is.
A couple of weeks back, Billie (my eldest (now 9)) had a reaction to a dumpling that contained mung beans. She is at risk of anaphylaxis to peanuts….and so it seems now it’s relation – the mung bean.
I noticed that she started to persistently cough and glimpsed her holding her throat.
I recognised instantly the signs of an allergic and potentially anaphylactic reaction.
I got her to sit down and started lining up her epi-pens ready to inject her and ring an ambulance. The “better safe than sorry” front of mind. I know how quickly things can progress. I have seen it.
Billie said – “No mum – it’s not that extreme -it’s only a 6. “
We scale a lot of things in our family. It’s our form of communicating how “big” our “thing” is in that moment in time.
As anxious as I felt, I decided to trust her. I held back on administering the epi-pen.
I have never had an anaphylactic reaction before. Billie has.
So there I sat with her and calmly breathed along with her through it.
Listened to her chest.
Watched her sip on some water.
After an hour her “6” had gone down to a “1” and her cough had completely disappeared.
She had successfully self-treated. No epi-pen injected.
I didn’t sleep that night. I watched her breath the whole night to make sure – but yep as she kept telling me – “Mum – stop stressing. I’m ok.”
The following day, I got a notification that somebody had read my article “Healing”. It prompted me to re-read it and here I am sharing it here as a result.
I’m feeling confused
Healing of mind body soul
From the mess of over thought
Letting go to trust the flow
My thoughts are a jumbled mess on healing at the moment.
I feel confident I am taking steps to heal myself — mind body and soul. I am a believer that they are all linked. When they are all aligned — I am in peace. Showing up in life with ease — not dis-ease.
BUT…as an entrusted guide for others. As a parent. The others being my children. I’m not as confident in my trust or knowing.
Is there a difference in approaching healing for our kids?
For me, at the moment, that is a BIG yes.
While I know I can only control myself, I feel a responsibility to get it “right” for my kids. Whatever right is.
All the tools I have at my disposal, and I haven’t gained enough clarity to fully accept the is-ness of the situation. To let the control go.
Because I am scared of losing them. Because I am scared of getting in that ambulance again. Because I am scared of watching them be in pain. Scared of making the call to their father and telling him. Not doing enough, not being enough to protect them.
How connected am I still to my children? — they came through me, yet they are not me. For now, and perhaps ever, I will feel responsible for their health and wellbeing. Their safety.
Here’s the deal.
My eldest, Billie (6) has anaphylactic reactions to eggs and nuts.
My youngest, Matilda (3) recently started telling everyone that she was allergic to the same things as her sister.
Taking a leaf out of Billie’s book. Telling people she was allergic to eggs and nuts when they offered her food. To say, thanks but no thanks, I have safe food my parents have packed for me.
I had the concern that Matilda telling everyone she was allergic, would result in her being allergic.
Well — turns out I was right. She had her first allergic reaction a few weeks ago. To eggs.
Was I right because I thought it, or because she said it? Or both?
We were grateful to grab a specialist appointment, (some wait from 6 months to 5 years to get one) on a cancellation. The specialist’s testing confirming what I already knew — the culprit was eggs.
We were advised during COVID to take extra precautions for Billie’s safety. I stopped having eggs in the house. The eggy breakfasts I had been taking Matilda out for while Billie was in school stopped. Billie was home, places were closed. We were staying at home. Minimising exposure as instructed.
In that short time, Matilda’s tolerance to eggs dropped.
Her first exposure to the egg after the lockdown eased up looked like this…for almost 3 days.
Matilda — Left day after exposure, Right 10 minutes after exposure
She was breathing fine. No tongue or lip swelling like her sister.
This is considered a mild reaction.
So I am confidently re-introducing her to eggs. The reactions are still happening, but not as severe or for as long.
By repeated exposure to egg, I expect her to tolerance to return. Her allergies to disappear — happy days. (UPDATE – nope… about a year later she had her first anaphylactic reaction to a pancake!)
Now…Billie….is a different story.
I starved her for the first couple of months she was alive.
Doctors telling me to keep doing what I was doing. Me, not sleeping. Trying to breastfeed around the clock. Inverted nipples, an undiagnosed tongue-tie and a partner who was intoxicated for the most part adding to the chaos.
Billie stopped putting on weight and started losing it. She dropped below her birth weight at 7 weeks old.
Once I finally “woke up” and stopped listening to others, I started expressing like a madwoman to get my supply back up. Mixed feeding, daily weigh-ins and learning to be a new mum. Well… to say the least, our house was energetical crazy. This is not what society sold me on motherhood! My expectations kicked out the door.
Messing around before a weigh-in at the clinic — Billie at 10 weeks once she started putting on weight again
She survived. I survived. We survived.
From the ripples of consequences of that situation, did Billie lack the sense of belonging she needed to feel grounded? Is not having that connection a possible reason for allergies.
Did not getting enough food fuck up her gut that it caused the anaphylactic reactions? Did the immunisations she had, add to the confusion in her body?
Was it my madwoman antics of holding on to the “expectations of accepted parenting shoulds” too tight that impacted her?
Was it all of those things and more?
Who knows for sure. More to the point does it even matter? I would have said, yes once. So others can avoid the same.
But… It is what it is. What the universe sent for us to learn from.
It all comes down to the reality that her physical body is shows signs of an imbalance. Energetically (spirit), subconsciously (mind) and physically (body) there is a misalignment.
Now the conundrum.
I know it is not my job to “fix” her…but it seems on some level that is what in essence myself and others are trying to do.
The experts, the nutritionists, the energy healers…me. Trying to “heal” her.
Are we right? Are we wrong? The judgement is not mine. The reality is that that is exactly what we are trying to do.
My partner has witnessed Billie heal herself.
“Daddy, I can’t do the breathing,” she told him one night when I was away.
Her lips and tongue swelling, and her breathing was raspy.
He grabbed her epi-pen. She started freaking out.
She has an intense fear of needles — I believe from earlier reactions and blood tests when she was younger.
She became so charged about the jab, her symptoms started to disappear.
The swelling went.
Her breathing returned to normal.
Did she produce her own adrenaline in that moment?
I believe yes.
It wasn’t the only time either. She trusted her Aunty one day. Ate some cake icing — it was royal icing so it had egg whites in it.
The look on her face said it all.
She knew it had egg in it. She knew on some level that if she started vomiting etc, it would mean missing out on the fun at the party. Without anyone’s prompting, she took a deep breath. Closed her eyes and said, I’m not sick I’m not sick I’m not sick.
She wasn’t sick.
Now there are countless other times before and since she has had reactions.
Even though she has displayed the ability to self-heal, she doesn’t always choose to. Mind over matter not always the tool. The “why” perhaps not enough in that moment to call upon the strength and energy she needs to self heal.
How do we guide her to harness and embrace that power?
I’m not sure.
Is me doing all this, holding on too tight to the issue? Am I making it harder for her to heal? I can only do what I can do — I feel like I would be negligent if I didn’t hold on to it on some level.
Until I know otherwise, I will continue to take her to the doctors and specialists. Keep up the energy healing sessions. Keep changing things in her diet. Manage her risks as best as I can. Keep working on me. Own my own energy so I show up in a state of energy that supports me responding vs reacting.
It is what it is.
Step by step I know the clarity and ability to let go more will come.
Be very interested in hearing others’ experiences.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for being you.