Access after separation



Here is my situation:

My husband walked out on me and our two children a week before Christmas last year - which also happened to be a week before my daughter's first reaction to peanuts. We were not sure what she had reacted to initially, so we went to the allergist in February who has confirmed that she is anaphylactic to peanuts. I have spent the last month reading, surfing the internet, buying an epipen trainer for us and her daycare staff, etc. My husband, however, has not been involved in any of this, although I have certainly told him about her allergy and tried to give him some material to read. The end result is that I feel extremely uncomfortable with him taking her for visits although I realize he has a right to see her. The allergic history is all on my side of the family, so I don't feel confident that he will recognize a reaction and respond appropriately. I also have no control over his environment and don't feel that the woman he is living with will understand how important it is to take all the precautions about peanuts in the house, etc. We have never had peanut products in our house anyway, so my husband is not really used to having to check over everything - that has always been my job. Although my daughter was jus recently diagnosed, I have long suspected that there may be an allergy so I have kept peanut products out of the house.

Anyway, I was wondering if anyone else has had to deal with this sort of situation? How do I balance dealing with my concerns about her allergy with her natural desire to spend time with her father? Any ideas or coments?

On Mar 29, 1999

Hi Deb! I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It is sometimes difficult just to deal with strangers and schools etc. You seem to have a much bigger challenge. I have just recently heard of a similar situation. Parents were separating and although the child had been prviously diagnosed, Mom was the peanut patrol and dad new very little about the allergy. You mention that your daughter is in daycare. How old is she? Would your husband be receptive to a call from your allergist? Have you investigated the law around this area? Perhaps only supervised visitation could be set up?

On Mar 29, 1999

Hi Deb

I'm sorry to hear about your situation also. But, your child's safety is the most important thing. You can't sit back and send her to your husband with your fingers crossed, hoping nothing will happen. You've got to make him understand the severity of the situation. If he doesn't listen to you (like my inlaws did to me), try bombarding him with articles he can read. Maybe if he sees it in print, he'll get the point. Also, if you do send your daughter off with him, make sure to pack a lunch box of multiple acceptable foods to last for the amount of time she is away. Provide your husband with a detailed list of safe and acceptable foods, and tell him he CANNOT deviate off the list. Also, he must learn how to use an Epi-pen. There's no negotiating on that one.

On Mar 29, 1999

Hello Deb! Your situation is difficult. I think that the previous posts had some good suggestions. If you could ask your husband to meet with your daughter's allergist to review the epi-pen and food safety issues, this may help get the message across.

On Mar 29, 1999

I would suggest getting one (or more) of the videos from FAN. I purchased 'It Only Takes One Bite' for disbelieving family members.

On Mar 29, 1999

Thanks for the suggestions - by the way, my daughter is 41/2 (my son is 2 and a severe asthmatic but no peanut allergy yet). I really like the idea of sending food with her - I guess my main worry is that I don't know what other people he may expose her to and whether they will have been educated by him or not......

My last visit to the lawyer was before she was diagnosed and the legal perspective seems to be that I can only get supervised visitation if there is a history of abuse or something so it seems as if any limitations will have to be negotiated between us - I am going to check again, though, and see if there is anything I can do since it is a bit of an unusual case.

I just want to throw out another question. My husband is South American and his first language is Spanish - which is what we speak at home. Part of the problem is that all the material I have is in English and he just doesn't have the patience to sit and read it all. Does anyone know if there is anything available out there in Spanish? The videos might help, though.

Thanks for the support!

[This message has been edited by DebO (edited March 29, 1999).]

On Mar 29, 1999

Hi Deb,

Here are a few links that are in english and/or spanish...

Tips to Remember - scroll down to the middle of the page and it gives you an option to access the information in english or spanish...tip #18 is on anaphylaxis