It’s been just over a week now since I discovered that I am celiac and it’s been a slightly turbulent ride. I am overwhelmingly happy that I am not dealing with a sinister cancer however the biggest learning curve of my week has been just how big a life adjustment this is!
Given that this was never something on my radar, and that when I was first told I was dealing with a sick child, it was a couple of days after the appointment that I actually started to digest what was going on.
Like all people in this era I turned to the internet for information.
The internet can often lead you to some dark holes that you may never come back from and some of the stuff was very overwhelming. The biggest was trying to understand what ‘cross-contamination’ was and that it’s a thing…a big thing…and a damn right impossible thing with 3.5 year old toddlers!!!
When someone suddenly tells you you need to change your entire way of living it’s hard to know where to start and that was where I felt stuck at the beginning of last week. What am I meant to do first? How do I approach this ‘cross-contamination’ issue? Should I even bother or is it all too hard?
After reading numerous sites that informed me the slightest dust from gluten is considered poison, I found myself huddled in tears on the floor, surrounded by biscuit, bread and weetbix crumbs not knowing if I should even hug my boys because of what they have eaten! I honestly didn’t know how to handle it.
Would I ever be able to eat out again? Will I enjoy life? Will people invite me places or am I just becoming the ‘difficult’ person???? So many more unknowns.
The most real moment for me in this first week however, was reaching the point where Mum me had to take over. It’s amazing that no matter how overwhelmed you can feel you never fail to pick yourself up and get on with your number 1 duty of being a mum.
For 2 days last week, I became suddenly terrified of crumbs. I distanced myself from the boys when they were eating a biscuit and was becoming frustrated at them if they were dropping crumbs but I quickly pulled myself up and remembered they are only 3, it’s their right of passage.
I called a few people and had some very frank discussions and realised that while I need to do everything I can to change my lifestyle, this is not a form of anaphylaxis, and in fact this is something I have been living on without huge side affects for over 30 years!! I mean heck… I didn’t even know about it the week before so I simply need to take each day at a time and do my best.
One thing I am not willing to do is to sacrifice the bond with my children. I have to be careful yes…but I will not do it at the expense of the relationship with my boys. See here’s the thing…this is a long term issue. Yes it may increase my chances of getting a text book worth of things in the future, yes I will hopefully feel better in the long run if I hide myself in a hazmat suit and don’t go near a crumb BUT my boys will never be 3 again so I have to find a balance between both.
I searched a lot on the internet for ‘mums and celiac’ but most of the resources were for mums of kids with celiac. So I’ve made my decisions and judgements based on what’s right for my family at this stage! This may change at every step but this is a developing situation.
I dare say there’s not that many people out there trying to make these big lifestyle changes while raising 3.5 year old twin boys one of which is a fussy eater with sensory food issues who can’t self feed well. It’s kinda a tough situation. I do think though there are a lot of other mums out there in similar situations who have no idea how to balance just another plate on their already over piled stack!
So…I have segmented my house into gluten and non-gluten. I have implemented a strict cleaning schedule for the house after food and both Chris and I are eating gluten-free (well he hasn’t dropped the beers!). We are getting the boys to clean their hands and wipe their faces after every gluten snack (which we mainly did anyway!) and we are slowly changing elements of their diet to be slightly less gluten focused without removing it completely (yes we will get them tested).
BUT that’s where I draw the current line. I will still make my kids lunch, I will still help them to eat because they wont stay 3 forever and I will try and be as vigilant as possible. I won’t make it the focus of our lives, we will all find a way to grow with this together.
To any other mums going through this, making changes to fix yourself is hard as we put our kids first. We will always put our kids first and we can only do what we can do and that is our best.
Thanks for reading – xx Nix