Thursday, February 27, 2014

School, Allergies and Emotions

School is hard. Not the academic stuff, although that may be hard for some, but the social intricacies of being a kid and finding your niche. Add to the mix food allergies and you've got a recipe for some very difficult emotional situations for a child. Adults with celiac disease, anaphylaxis, diabetes or other dietary restrictions have trouble dealing with feelings of exclusion when not partaking in the food at a celebration or gathering. Yet we ask kids to deal with this at school on a regular basis.

I can tell you that my oldest who has been dealing with it for 3 years of elementary still has trouble processing it. There's an event tomorrow and when he heard that it was based around food that he can't have he choked back the tears until after school. He let the river flow when he got home. I know in the long run he will be resilient and empathetic because of these challenges. It still hurts my heart to watch him. His feelings are real, I'm not going to tell him to suck it up and deal with it. He does when he's at school. He lets them out when he gets home. My middle child is celiac and we will be dealing with this again starting in September when she goes to Kindie.

Every year I talk to his teacher and let them know the extent of his allergy. I ask for warning before events with food so I can prepare him and send some suitable substitute. I ask that when the notifications about allergies go out that his be included so that parents are aware. He still feels 'different'. It's not about the treat it's about the feelings of participation and inclusion. I understand that if it's not on your radar it is difficult to be aware of this at all times when choosing treats. I don't expect parents to always have my kids or others with allergies on their mind. So I have another suggestion.

Here's my wild notion: Let's take the food out of the celebration at school. Let's think outside the box and use non food ways to celebrate like games and activities.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Chronic Injury: Reflections from a Pregnant Wife

I guess I can call it a chronic injury now. It has been 14 months since the car accident in which my husband sustained a back/neck shoulder injury. The first few months were the worst with him having to lie down or sleep most of the time. Dealing with the injury was one thing but dealing with the torrent of emotions was much worse. I felt resentful doing it all. Then I felt guilty for feeling resentful. I felt irritated with him for being so angry and snappish. I felt sad that my needs weren't being met physically or emotionally. I felt scared. What if he never recovered? I feel proud of him for moving through it and making an effort to get better. However, when he has a flareup I feel a rush of unpleasant emotions… like PTSD I suppose. I guess it doesn't help that I'm 31 weeks pregnant and in constant pain of my own.

I think some of the anxiety and fear I am feeling links back to the early months after D's birth. Husband had a mother of a kidney stone. It was his first of many. We made a trip to the ER thinking he had an obstructed bowel or something. He came home on meds which his body didn't tolerate very well and it took over a week  to pass it. He laid around and took meds and worked from the bedroom. I remember trying to get him to watch D while I went out for something and he said he couldn't because what if the pain hit him. I remember being so incredibly angry. Why does he get to retire to the bedroom when he's not well and I do not?

I guess some of the resentment stems from the fact that when he is down for the count I feel abandoned. Also I feel like I do a lot of research and try things to make him better. I cannot say he has done that in any of the difficult pregnancies or c-section recoveries I have had. Don't get me wrong he is an incredible man who cooks, cleans, shops, chauffeurs, parents and loves both me and the kids whole heartedly. I cannot ask for a more hard working or involved partner. Maybe he just doesn't know that I need or rather want that. I am the one with the medical background. I am the one that does the research on anything involving health. It really is my role.

I am likely just feeling overwhelmed as the house is dirty, I am exhausted and we did takeout last night so something must be cooked. All I want is a nap and a hamburger. How do I let go of/process the emotions? I don't want to feel the resentment, fear, guilt, anxiety, irritation etc.