I hate allergies. Hate hate hate hate hate them.
I hate that my baby has poorly skin. I hate that her beautiful face is marred by three patches of bright red eczema that just won’t go away. That she cries when I put her cream on. That her ears are split and raw and bleeding. I hate that I have to bath her and cream her in multiple creams every night, when she’s tired and just wants to sleep. I hate the smell and feel of them, and the grease that stains clothes.
I hate the fact shopping takes four times as long as I have to read every label every time. That something she likes one day the next has milk in. That in one shop a product is safe and the next not. I hate the fact we can’t just ‘pop out for lunch’, or, ‘this place looks nice, let’s eat here’ because mostly there’s nothing. That we’re stuck in chain restaurants because I can mostly check the menu beforehand or they actually have an allergy menu. That I then spend the first ten minutes ignoring my baby so I can check again the ingredients, or search the allergy menu for something she will eat and can have. That I’m that person we all know the chef rolls their eyes at, or the waiter dreads. I hate that some places don’t have adequate information. ‘We threw the packaging away’. ‘I don’t think it has egg in it but I can’t find the info’. I hate having to think, all the time ‘where are we going, what can I get for her, shall I take food in case?’. Then the stares as you feed a toddler their own food in a cafe because they won’t eat jacket and beans again and there’s nothing else. Or they’re just getting over a reaction and you’re being super careful.
I hate that it’s confusing. That I don’t know where the reactions are from. That I slip up sometimes. Major mummy guilt there. I hate that she suffers, that this week she’s had enough of something to make her run away screaming every time you mention nappy because her bum is burnt from all the diarrhoea. That she cries ‘my tummy hurts’, and wakes up needing mummy because she’s not right and not well. That her skin is pickled with a rash of eczema.
But most of all I hate the disappointment. The ‘mummy, look cakes’ at a local fair to go over and have to buy a breadstick dipped in chocolate, that mummy eats the chocolate from, because there’s nothing else and actually you call that a major win. The wails of ‘I want some’ when I have something she can’t have. When she misses out on birthday cake because it’s not safe. When I just want to wrap her up in cotton wool and give her everything she wants and take the pain and reaction for her, just once.
I hate that I’m a lucky one, that others have it far worse where their children could die. I hate that this exists. That there’s such a stigma over being awkward, or difficult, or restrictive for people with genuine allergies, and that some allergens are fad diets . That judgement is passed. I hate being asked ‘will she grow out of it’ because I don’t know. I want to hope, so badly but being asked that question makes me contemplate she might not. That this might be her life now. That she’ll never enjoy a proper pizza, that they’ll get worse, that she’ll never taste so many things. That my two year old had to say ‘no, make you poorly’ so pragmatically. That she might always be the odd one out. God I long for the day they’re all gone. When I can take my baby places with no worry or stress. When we can go on holiday and eat wherever we want because it doesn’t matter.
I hate allergies.