Parenthood Can Break Your Heart And Make it Stronger

My daughter had a reaction to yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter (puffy eyes/ hives).

Turns out, she is allergic to dairy, eggs, and pretty much all nuts. Dogs and cats.

But not dust. Which honestly blew my mind. Isn’t everyone allergic to dust to some extent?


I thought after learning my oldest was born with a heart defect, nothing could phase me. I was very wrong.

I’ve been a nervous wreck since we found out on Friday. Questions keep emerging: What will she eat? Will people bully her? Will she have a “normal” life? How many time will I have to save her life with an epi pen? What if I’m not there during a reaction?

I’ve already cleansed the house of offending ingredients, I just wish I could organize (control) her future.

Perhaps the most important task as a mother with two children who have health conditions is to teach and encourage them to be their own defender.

I’ll write more as time goes on. If I tried to cram all of my feelings into this post I’d have a million bunny trails and a Costoco-size pile of Kleenex by my chair.


Author: Rachel McKee

I love reading about everything. I'm not a book snob. Lately I have been "reading" a lot of picture books to my toddler and baby. In my past life before motherhood, I was a professional technical editor and writer.

22 thoughts on “Parenthood Can Break Your Heart And Make it Stronger”

  1. Oh my goodness. Food allergies are a witch with a b. I’m allergic to eggs. It’s caused problems every now and then. One food allergy is bad enough. All that rolled into one though? Geez. So not cool.

    I also have a heart defect so I know how hard that must be on you and him. When it rains, it pours.

    You’ll get this figured out. It’s hard though. It’ll be tough but you’ve got this. Good luck.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh dear. I studied a bit of cardiology when I was a medical scribe. That’s not fun.

        WPW is a phenomenon in which the heart has an extra wire. During times of stress this wire gets activated and the electrical impulses completely bypass the atrioventricular node, causing the ventricles to beat prematurely. It causes palpitations, tachycardia and sometimes vfib.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a cousin with Cystic Fibrosis, and when my aunt and uncle found out, my aunt’s first reaction was, “Why my child?” My grandfather told her, “Why *not* her? You’re stronger than you think.”

    For little Hayden, her life *will* be normal with the food restrictions and medications and whatever can’t be in her environment. My cousin has made it to 28 years old, always being an active, outgoing youth and now happily-married adult. She takes pills, she has to go to the hospital pretty frequently, she carries an epi-pen. She’s never known anything different, so she’s rarely expected something else from her life.

    Remember that there is no such thing as normal, because normal is always in the eye of the beholder. Giving Hayden a healthy and happy life comes in many forms.

    And it’s never been scientifically proven, but Erma Bombeck had a theory that God handpicks the parents of children with special needs. I agree.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Daley. Thank you for your understanding and support. You’re words have moved me to tears, but that’s been a common thing these last few days.💕

      I just appreciate your friendship so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m so sorry to hear that Rachel, you must have been inundated with shock, confusion and perhaps even guilt. It is the trifecta that no family should have to go through. You have a strong and delightful family and perhaps one way to look at it is that all hardships are just the glue that will hold you together. Please do feel free to vent here on WP, we can give you all the support that you need (and even supply the Costco Kleenex too, no biggie since I live 5min from one!) 🙂 Stay strong girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Always here for you when you need! 😊
        I’m not close enough to allergies (apart from allergic to dust mites), but wondering if children will be able to grow out of them as they get older. I was born epileptic and fully medicated until early twenties, but doctors did give me hope early on that I’m one of those cases where I could potentially grow out of it. “Sending” you some flowers in the meantime! 🌸💐🍄

        Liked by 1 person

  4. My heart goes out to you and your little ones…you are such a lovely Mom and I love the idea of teaching them both to be their own defenders! I’ll never forget the grace with which my childhood friend handled her daughter’s life threatening food allergies, after awhile, it just becomes a new normal (they even travelled to Europe & Mexico frequently!)…when I stayed with them, Pat just simply whipped up small second meals for Kristina while we ate her planned meals…may her beautiful grace touch your world as well, Rachel!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so sorry to hear! I have a lot of food allergies (and I carry an epipen), and I’ve learned to be extremely careful, especially with cross-contamination. I think kids today are a lot more knowledgeable and compassionate about other children with allergies, so I sincerely hope she won’t have any problems at school. Sending you and both your little ones positive thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This might be a loaded question but how has your food allergies impacted your life?


      What were some good things your parents did to help you?

      If this is too personal I completely understand.❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have to be very careful eating in restaurants–definitely no buffets–and I always have to ask if they fry their shellfish in the same fryer as other things (some restaurants have separate fryers). At work, people know not to reheat any shellfish in the kitchen, and my colleagues are great about not ordering it if we’re all out for lunch together since my allergy is also air-borne. Anytime we have anything catered, we’re always asked to identify food allergies–mine are shellfish, and avocado, bananas, and kiwi (because I’m also allergic to latex). My parents just never had any in the house, and made sure that relatives (like the one who loves crab dip) never brought any to family functions–they were VERY insistent. Luckily, a shellfish allergy isn’t really a problem in school, and mine didn’t become air-borne until a few years ago. As far as impact on my life, not much really–my food allergies are easier to manage than nuts, eggs, and dairy (she’ll have to be super-careful at Hallowe’en, whereas no one hands out shrimp, so it wasn’t a problem for me!). You can probably find some great vegan restaurants or grocery stores where you can buy things that are egg, dairy, and nut-free for your daughter, and there are so many recipe sites available online now, like these from Good Housekeeping:
        Hope that helps!

        Liked by 1 person


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