I think I’ve had about 72 “I am a mom” moments since my two littles were born.
I had them for sure when I was peed or puked on for the first time, and during the all-nighter with a sick baby when I was desperate to take the illness away. It didn’t matter that I was exhausted when my feverish infant needed me in the night.
You know the feeling, right? If only my kisses and love could have cured what pained that baby. If only Mama could have fixed it.
Sometimes we get lucky during those moments, and it occurs to us that we can indeed do something big to help. For our family that meant a lifestyle overhaul, not just for our baby girl, but for all four of us.
About 15 months ago our lives changed. My baby girl’s skin was almost always covered in eczema and/ or hives. She was such a happy baby, and it broke my heart to see her scratching at her skin, trying to alleviate the pain, and itching only to make it worse. Her doctor at the time didn’t think that she needed to see a specialist.
I thought differently. So we went, without a referral, to an allergy specialist (And a new family doctor because, I mean…) and that was the day our lives changed, and got much better for our Plum. At 12 months old, the tests showed that she had multiple food allergies, including a life-threatening peanut allergy. We were sent home with an Epi-Pen, scared to death that we would somehow not know what to do should we ever need to use it.
I remember driving home that day, shaken. This would mean a lot of work on our part to keep her food safe. At a stop light, I looked at my baby in the rearview mirror. Through my tears, I made her a promise that I would do everything in my power to make our lives fit with her needs. I promised her that our home would be safe for her to live in freely, and that I would care for her in every way that I could. It was the most profound “I am mom” moment I have ever had. My baby needed me to move a few mountains for her, and that was the day we pulled out our shovels.
Fast forward 15 months. Today, Plum was diagnosed today with asthma. My girl officially has the third piece of the childhood immunology pie: allergies, eczema and asthma. That’s a pie no one wants to see completed for their child, but here we are. It’s not something I can change for her, but (and that’s a big ‘but’) I can do a whole heck of a lot to help her. As her mom, I do have the power to make her life more comfortable. As a family, we decided to change our habits for her.
And this is what we do.
Her eczema, asthma and allergies are controlled not only by medication but also by using perfume and dye-free natural bath products, not just for her, but for all of us. We use free and clear laundry detergent and fabric softener. We use all natural and chemical free lotions, not just for her, but for all of us. When I clean the house (and let’s be honest, that’s not all the time, but when I do) we use natural and chemical-free cleansers, not just for her, but for all of us.
When we eat a meal it is safe for her, and for all of us. The diapers we use, the places we eat out, the clothing we buy, and the products we use are all carefully chosen. Basically, anything that comes into our home has to pass the test questions: Is this an allergen for her? Will this irritate her skin? Will this flare her asthma?
I cannot keep my daughter safe from all of the world, but I can keep her safe in our home. It can and should be her safe haven, for her and for all four of us.
This post is part of BlogHer's My 'I'm a Mom' Moment editorial series, made possible by Seventh Generation.
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