I am delighted to announce that my Spotlight of the Month for October is the lovely @positivelyallergic. Stephanie is an allergy Mum to her son William. She speaks about the challenges, her top tips and so much more.
What are you/your family allergic to?
My son William is allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, mustard, sesame, flax seed, chickpeas and lentils.
What do you find most challenging being an allergy Mum?
I find the most challenging thing about being an allergy Mum is managing your own fears and anxiety, whilst putting on an appearance that you have everything together, all the time. Ensuring their feelings aren’t hurt when they can’t eat the same things or go to certain places. It’s horrible seeing them upset and trying to maintain a positive mindset.
How do you think schools can improve to cater for children with allergies?
Schools can do so much more to educate teachers and students on allergy awareness. Allergy awareness should be included into the primary school curriculum. By educating, you’re helping to develop understanding at an early age. It’s also a life saving skill – win win!
Why did you set up your Instagram page and what do you wish to achieve?
I set up my Instagram page not long after William was diagnosed. I found in every Facebook group I joined, they were only discussing the negative impacts of allergies. How it takes control, how people don’t understand or how you’re left out.
So, I started this to show there is a positive side to allergies. YES, I admit there are huge downfalls but my goodness my son has shown me inner strength, bravery and more understanding than I see in most adults. He will always have to be careful but in no way does that mean he won’t go on to leave his amazing mark on this world.
And I want others to feel the same way. That children with allergies are stronger than we realise, that there are good times as well as tricky ones and most of all, that we there is a huge community to support you.
Can you tell us the Top 3 tips for being an allergy mum?
My top 3 tips for being an allergy mum are:
- Don’t be afraid to speak up. Communicate with schools, communicate with parents. It’s exhausting, stressful and frustrating but the more people that understand allergies, the more change we will see. And that is nothing to apologise for.
- Talk about allergies, to anyone that will listen. Use it to learn more about allergies, offer advice or support. I’m always happy to chat.
- Believe. My goodness, believe. Things will be fine. It may not look like that all the time but my Dad once told me “You have to suffer the bad to really appreciate the good. The bad sucks, but my goodness the good times are magical.” And you know what, he was right.
If you could change one thing to help those with allergies, what would it be?
If I could change one thing to help those with allergies, I would wish people were aware of how severe they are. How they dominate our lives and thoughts. How parents of children with allergies and those with allergies are always on alert. It’s not something that we should be blamed for.