'My mother-in-law and husband don't take my kid's severe food allergy seriously'

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

For those living with serious food allergies, it's true that the people who are closest to them, can actually be the biggest threat to their lives. 

And when you've got a five-year-old child with anaphylaxis to peanuts, a potentially fatal and unpredictable disease, and a mother-in-law who doesn't take it seriously, it's a recipe for disaster.

Then it's made even worse when the husband isn't on side either.

Posting her horrifying situation to Reddit, a user known as pnutproblemz asks if she's overreacting.

She first outlines the kind of person her mother-in law is.

"I've never really seen eye-to-eye with my MIL because she's very strict and old fashioned, she's like this with all of her grandchildren: she'll do things like yell at them for not sitting up straight, elbows on table, etc... I understand that children need discipline, but I prefer a gentler approach with my son. I've asked her many times to not do that, but my husband insists I let it go, so I've tried to. Until now."

Those things can be worked around, but here's where things become a case of life and death.

"My son was officially diagnosed with a life threatening peanut allergy, and we have an Epipen Jr for him. She insists that when she was younger people 'didn't have allergies', and if they did they would get rid of them via exposure and that I'm just babying him. I've explained to her that his allergy is very real and potentially deadly."

Mother-in-law's reaction? To scoff at her. Here's where things get understandably heated.

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"She has basically scoffed it off and the last time she came to pick him up, she took his Epipen/fanny pack from around his waist and threw it on my driveway, saying she's taken him for ice cream many times and nothing has ever happened, and he doesn't "need it" with him. I told him she could no longer take him and brought him inside, she left and called my husband, she cried to him saying I accused her of being an unfit grandmother. Which I admittedly did because my child's safety is my priority and apparently not hers."

And here's where we get a feeling in our waters there could be a future divorce on the cards.

"Now my husband wants me to apologise to her. He says she would take him to the hospital if he ingested peanuts and that I'm overreacting. I kindly explained to him that Epipens save lives because anaphylaxis means your airways are narrowing, your breathing is becoming blocked, etc... and time is OF THE ESSENCE because it happens so quickly."

The MIL even wants to take the kid to a baseball game where people consume lots of peanuts. She refused to take the child to a designated peanut-free area, insisting "... he would be fine."

Mum has had to get tough.

She writes, "So, now my stance is... no Epipen = no taking my child anywhere."

The husband has proven himself well and truly part of the problem, siding with his mother.

In an update posted, the OP says she has moved out and is staying at her brother's house with her son, "... at least for a few days until things cool off and I'm able to have a sit down discussion with my husband and his mother."

She writes, "Unfortunately, this isn't really a case of not being educated on the subject. My husband has been to the same appointments I have with my son, he just chooses to throw all his knowledge out the window to appease his mother and avoid "defying" her.

The responses, especially those from people who have anaphylaxis, say she's done the right thing standing up for her son and protecting his life.

"Go make your husband read the r/justnomil post about the grandma who nearly killed her granddaughter with food containing allergens because she didn't take the problem seriously. And if that doesn't work, make him read the post about the woman who did kill her granddaughter with coconut oil when the child was allergic to coconuts. And if that doesn't work, demand counselling to sort through why he refuses to back you up when his child's life is on the line, regardless of who's threatening it."

They continue, "No epi-pen, no unsupervised outings. It really is as simple as that. And frankly, you're being generous: I would make it no outings, period, until Grandma stops gambling with the kid's life just to "prove she knows better" than you and the doctors."

And another.

"I came on here to mention the coconut oil one. Literally can't even read that without crying. It's so sad and so avoidable. Do not let anyone who openly threatens to put your child's life in danger. You are in the right here and trust your instinct."

The comment thread is quite literally more than 2,100 statements of disbelief over the OP's situation. Some say the biggest problem is her husband, others say get rid of both of them.

It's certainly a snapshot of what people living with life threatening food allergies deal with on a daily basis, though not everyone's biggest risk comes from their own father and grandmother.