Celiac Counsellor’s Corner

  • My daughter’s biopsy results come back in a couple of weeks to confirm Celiac, but I’m already stressed as to how to feed her, especially the worry of cross contamination. I’m also worried about how she will handle it. I’m hoping going gluten free will help, and not overwhelm her more than she already is.

Sherry Scheideman Counselour

Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor

Celiac Counsellor’s Corner*is a place where Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor, responds to your questions about the emotional and social issues that celiacs face. Diagnosed with celiac disease herself in 2001 in Victoria, BC, Sherry draws upon personal experiences and a Master’s Degree in Counseling to support you in transcending this ‘life transition’ and turning it into an opportunity to live your best life – ever.

Sherry’s Response:

“Let’s focus on you, Mom. You’re the caretaker, and you need to care for yourself first in order to care for your child. It’s like the flight attendant says in the safety talk on the airplane: “Put your own oxygen mask on first, and then put your child’s mask on.”

The question is, how can you care for yourself? What kind of care do you need? For clues to this, look at what you want your daughter to do:  you want your daughter not to be overwhelmed.

This shows you that “not being overwhelmed” is important to you. So ask yourself: How am I overwhelmed?

Notice that you’re worried about your ability to feed your daughter, and stressed that you might cross-contaminate her. Do these worries and stresses feel overwhelming?

When you believe the thought, “I can’t safely feed my daughter,” that’s pretty overwhelming.

So take a look at that overwhelming thought: “I can’t safely feed my daughter.” Is it true? Well – no! It’s not true. It is in fact possible to safely feed a celiac with a gluten-free diet. It takes effort and education, and learning from lots of mistakes, but it can be done!

Imagine your life without the thought, “I can’t safely feed my daughter.” Your daughter would still need to go gluten-free, and she would still be potentially overwhelmed by that – but you would not feel overwhelmed yourself. Instead of having your energy taken up with worry and stress, you would have that energy available to learn how to go gluten-free, to prevent cross-contamination, to stock your kitchen with gluten-free choices, and to support your daughter as she deals with her diagnosis.

You can care for yourself by questioning the scary thoughts you have about your daughter’s diagnosis. This will calm your worries, reduce your stress, prevent you from being overwhelmed, and free up your energy to do what has to be done.

By questioning your stressful thoughts, you can become a role model for your daughter… a model of how not to be overwhelmed! Isn’t that what you want for your daughter? Then give it to yourself first. You can only give it to her if you have it.

Thank you for sharing! We all learn from your experience.


View previous Celiac Counsellor Corners enter ‘Sherry’ into the search field at the top right of this page.

Sherry Scheideman, MA, RCC

“Life happens! Why not love it?”

“Being diagnosed with celiac disease and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?”

Sherry writes about the issues that we as celiacs face in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner. The following topics – and more – will be addressed:

  • blaming ourselves or feeling guilty for having the disease
  • feeling frustrated and sad about all the food we can’t have anymore
  • facing social, familial, and workplace difficulties because we can’t eat what everyone else is having
  • being afraid we might not be able to get anything safe to eat when we’re out
  • having to ask endless questions about food to make sure we can eat it
  • having to endlessly refuse offerings of food in order to stay safe
  • occasionally getting “glutened” and then enduring not only the illness but possibly also the blame from ourselves
  • how to handle gluten-free shaming

sherry.scheideman MC, RCC

In her articles, Sherry will examine how we can feel like victims as we face the issues that celiac disease presents — and then will explore how these issues give us the opportunity to become our best selves as we rise to meet their challenges. We may find that we can even be grateful to celiac disease for giving us the challenges we need.

  • As Pema Chodron notes, “When we reach our limit, a hardness in us will dissolve. We will be softened by the sheer force of whatever energy arises – the energy of anger, the energy of disappointment, the energy of fear. That very energy pierces us to the heart, and it opens us. Reaching our limit is like finding a doorway to sanity and the unconditional goodness of humanity.”

  • *Information and perspectives provided in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene of the accuracy of the information provided to it, and the information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. The Celiac Counsellor’s Corner does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.