I know I'm long overdue for a blog post, but I thought I'd add a few thoughts on being a parent with T1. I love being a parent to my dear daughter-- she is such a special blessing to me. She's 6 and a half months old now, and is a happy baby, except for when she's hot or hungry! (LOL, she definitely gets that from my husband!) As a new parent with T1, there are a few things here and there that make me realize I'm different from other parents. Like when my daughter's foot gets tangled in my pump tubing (haha, she's as bad as a door knob when it comes to getting caught), or when I got a spot of blood on one of her cute outfits because I had checked my bg and picked her up without realizing I was still bleeding. But, as those of us with D know, it teaches you not to sweat the small stuff and to keep things in perspective. So I didn't let myself stay upset about that for very long! A few of the major things that have come to the forefront of my mind since I've become a parent are: * My fear that my daughter will be diagnosed with T1. I struggle with this every single day. Then I have to reel my thoughts in and remember that, first of all, it might not ever happen (according to the statistics, she has a 1 in 25 chance, and I'm the only one in my family who has it), and secondly, if she does, it won't be the worst thing in the world. But I still struggle with this because I know what childhood with a chronic illness is like. It's not fun to be different from everyone else. And I can't imagine giving her an injection; I get upset enough just going to the doctor's office for her immunizations. Becoming a parent and thinking about this has given me a new respect for parents of children with D, and especially my own parents. * My fear that I won't be around as long as other parents who don't have T1. Since my life expectancy is reduced, I worry that I won't be around for my daughter when she is older. But then I force myself to remember that plenty of people with T1 live to a ripe old age, so you just never know. The book 50 Secrets of the Longest Living People with Diabetes is full of examples. But it's still a thought that keeps popping up in my mind. * My fear that I'll be a burden to my daughter if I have complications. I don't want to burden my daughter with taking care of me when I'm older if I have complications. But then I force myself to remember that plenty of people out there end up taking care of their parents when they're older, and it has nothing to do with T1. For example, my grandmother now lives with my parents and requires a LOT of care because she had a stroke and has dementia, which has nothing to do with D because she doesn't have it. I also worry, though, that I'll have complications that will affect my interaction with my daughter and my quality of parenting. For instance, what if my vision deteriorates? What kind of parent would I be if I couldn't see my daughter? * My fear that something bad will happen to my daughter because I'm low. This fear mainly has to do with driving. I used to not think twice about getting in my car and going somewhere, as long as I felt okay. But now I worry that my bg will dip and I'll get in a wreck. I've never had that happen, but it's still a concern. Luckily, this is preventable, so I check often when I'm going anywhere, and that helps me to worry less. Thankfully, I don't let these fears worry me too much. My husband and I have talked through these concerns over and over, and prayed about them several times before Sydney was born. My husband has a great outlook, and helps me keep my worries in perspective: he advocates not worrying yourself with possibilities, but just sort of living in the moment, and that's really helped me. He tells me, "don't worry about something until it's in your face and you have to deal with it." That's not my nature, but I've kind of forced myself to live in the moment like that and take it one day at a time. I guess you could say our motto is "roll with the punches"! So I don't let these concerns stay on the forefront of my mind too much. Also, for those of you out there who are considering parenthood with T1, I'd recommend the book When You're a Parent With Diabetes: A Real Life Guide to Staying Healthy While Raising a Family by OC blogger Kassie Palmer. I read it before I got pregnant and it has a lot of good tips in there, and it gives you perspective on the fears I mentioned above. Anyway, I hope this post is insightful for some of you thinking about parenthood out there. Thanks for understanding and for letting me vent! :)
I am also a diabetic parent - my little one is 6 years old. As a child of a diabetic parent, myself - and recognizing that prior to the discovery of insulin in the 1920’s, I’d never have been born - I look at my daughter as a second generation miracle!
One thing I remind myself is that when we have complications or health issues, we can teach our children so much by how we handle those things. My grandmother (like yours, she didn’t have “the D”) had health issues and lived with us the last few years of her life. I was perpetually amazed at her faith, at her dignity, at her strength. It was a real life-shaping event for me. Part of what led me to work with people with disabilities was my relationship with her - and seeing how she continued to be a source of strength for us, even when she became unable to leave our home, or get up from her bed without assistance.
I still struggle with the fears, but recognizing that our value to our children and our families is NOT dependant upon our physical condition helps me a lot.
Drop me a note, if you ever want to chat with another D-Mama!
Thanks Melissa! It’s nice to know that other people have the same perspective on these fears. Thanks for your comment. I will add you as a “friend” so we can stay in touch.
I have two kids and I constantly worry about them. If I see more frequent wet diapers, I worry. If I see them drinking too much water, I worry. I guess I’ll quit worrying when a cure has been found. Go stem cells!
She is sooooo beautiful!