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It's the Way Things Are

by Kristin Beltaos, M.A.

Child Food Allergies - Discover a New Normal

Dealing with life threatening, child food allergies and restricted diets are challenging, and sometimes stressful, especially in the beginning when you are finding your footing.  Know that your feelings are normal; however, managing your stress along the way is a key ingredient to acceptance of your new reality.

At 11-months, my eldest son was diagnosed with multiple food allergies to dairy (by ingestion and topically), eggs, peanuts and tree nuts.  Since he is almost six-years-old, I don't consider us novices anymore; however, during times of transition, I sometimes feel like we are at the beginning again.  This rings true because at each transition, we have to discover our new normal, i.e., from being at home to preschool, from preschool to kindergarten and from kindergarten to elementary.  Each phase brings new situations, like: learning a new facility (school), acclimating a new cast of characters (staff), understanding new communication protocols and procedures, etc.  In all the maneuvering to find and settle into a new normal, anxiety levels tend to rise.

Ways to Catch Your Breath

Implement some ways to handle your stress and you will make each transition or phase, a bit easier to bear.

1. Become a Relaxation Expert:  This is more than zoning out in front of the TV or computer.  This is about self-care.  Take some time to read my previous article on how to implement a daily self-care plan: http://drkori.com/useful-information/chipmunk-espresso

2. Nurture Your Body: Get enough sleep, healthy foods and exercise.

3. Connect with Others:  Enjoy the people you hold dear as it deepens your bonds and helps you to feel supported.  Talk with others that listen well, you will feel more understood and better able to cope.

4. Connect with Nature:  Take a walk, go for a bike ride, or catch up on your gardening...do activities that enable you to connect with nature and have the extra anxiety buster of exercise.

5. Think Positive: Focus your mind on things that are good, beautiful and positive.

Acceptance - The Skinny on the Other White Meat

About a year ago, my sons got into the movie Babe.  If you haven't seen the movie, it's about  a cute pig that wants to be a sheephearder.  I highly recommend this movie because of the great moral themes like treating others with courtesy and respect, overcoming prejudices, facing challenges and seizing opportunities.

There is a particular scene where Babe follows Fly, the mother sheepdog, and her pups to the dog door of the farmhouse as they go in for dinner.  Babe wants to go with Fly and the pups, but Fly explains that pigs are not allowed in the house.  As any child would, Babe asks why?  Fly answers with, "It's the way things are."

Now, the other animals on the farm also have a very stoic acceptance of their lot in life: for example, the cow gently says, "The way things are, is the way things are."  But Ferdinand the duck, who's exists only to be eaten, adamantly rejects the status quo by saying, "The way things are stinks!"

Sometimes that's how we think, "The way things are stinks!"  Let's be honest, many times it's appropriate to feel this way, perhaps a puzzled mother makes an insensitive comment about you or your allergic child, an ignorant friend or family member verbalizes how overprotective you are about a bowl of peanuts on the table or maybe a parent doesn't clean up a spilled mess of Goldfish crackers which your child encounters.  No matter the stress, there are ways to combat it.  Besides implementing stress relieving tools from the previous section, finding acceptance goes tandem with the tools.

You cannot force your family to live like other families who do not have food allergies ~ because you do!  What you can do is accept that your life is not happy-go-lucky ...and in that acceptance comes the ability to be a positive role model and have a positive attitude for your family's reality.  And that acceptance IS happiness.

"It's the way things are."  Sometimes there are no great answers.  Sometimes, there isn't a substitute for a food your child would like to try to eat.  Sometimes your child cannot participate in an activity because it will be unsafe.  But I always think and tell my son; it may not always be this way.  Someday, you may grow out of your allergens and be able to try a ton of different foods and not be so cautious out in the world...but for now...it's the way things are.

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Kristin Beltaos, M.A., Life Coach, Owner of A Gift of Miles

After 15 years of corporate marketing employment and independent business and marketing consulting, Kristin followed her passion and launched A Gift of Miles.  Kristin provides life coaching and support services to those dealing with Stress Management, Child Food Allergies and Reproductive Challenges (Infertility, Miscarriage, Pregnancy After a Loss or Prenancy After the Struggle of Infertility).  Individuals and couples have a positive, emotionally safe environment to process and communicate their concerns and happiness while embarking on life's challenges.  Kristin offers empathetic, emotional support and consulting that promotes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness.  A Gift of Miles serves local and national clients through a variety of clinics in the Twin Cities as well as via telephone and Skype.  To learn more about Kristin or A Gift of Miles, please visit the website at http://www.agiftofmiles.com, email Kristin@agiftofmiles.com or call 612-845-7585.

Specialties

Stress Management (Life's Daily Grind of Chaos, Finding your Calling or Passion in Life, Relationships, Employment Transitions, Aging Parents, Parental Loss), Child Food Allergies and Reproductive Challenges (Infertility, Secondary Infertility, Miscarriage, Pregnancy After A Loss or Infertility).

 
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