Babies and ‘betes: a whole new land of diabetes guilt!

I’ve always wanted to have kids one day. In my grand life plan, there’s always been children in my future. Even with all the diabetes horror stories I’ve heard, I’ve never been swayed the other way (we can talk about all the various opinions about having a child when you have diabetes in another blog post. That’s a tougher post to write because some people really have some strong opinions about that). Now that my older sister has a child, I’ve finally had some real-life glimpses of what that will look like for me and Jacob when we decide to start a family.

Most of what I’ve seen is not only awesome, it’s awe-inspiring. I can’t even put in to words how much I love my little, perfect niece. Everything she does is cute and interesting: she sneezes and it’s adorable. Each tiny little outfit we put her in is cuter than the next one. I don’t mind changing her diaper (just learned how to do that this weekend!), and I don’t mind when she spits up after downing a big bottle – even if it’s all over a new dress. She’s just perfect.

But what I do mind is diabetes getting in the way and the super-sized guilt trip it gives me. When I got low on Saturday while holding my niece, I was able to hand her back to her mom. That won’t be a reality when it’s my kid. I managed a one-handed bolus while holding her in my other arm, but it was tricky. I’m trying to imagine doing that 10 times in one day, and changing pump sites and sensors and finger sticks and Symlin injections and holy crap I’ve really laid the guilt on thick for myself about children that are still a few years away from existence. Catastrophic thinking much? Note to self: Chill.

These are the times where I need to remind myself that I am not the first woman with diabetes to ever want children. I won’t be the first mom with Type 1 diabetes, and I won’t be the first person to feel crappy when a low takes precedence over a screaming kid. There are plenty of happy, healthy diabetic moms out there who find a way to balance feedings with testing. And if the way I feel about my little niece is any preview to what I’ll feel for a kid of my own one day, then I know that it’s going to dwarf any fears I have about diabetes.

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Comments

Absolutely! Just like all those mom-things kick in when you have a kid of your own, it’ll come naturally to you. You’ll learn to juggle and prioritize things in a way that you never thought possible. Good post.

What a thoughtful post. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 34 with a 3-month-old baby and a 3 yr. old. It was a challenge at times, but I managed ok. The kids always knew from the time they could understand that I had to take care of myself. I adopted my kids–so I didn’t have to manage diabetes while pregnant, but I had to manage all the meds, shots, etc. with babies. For example, I always told the kids that we were going for walks every day–for me to help me manage my diabetes care.

Jessica and hmbalison THANK YOU for your comments – that’s the kind of thing that makes me feel like I’m not the only one with those feelings and that there is way to get through it!

Alexis,

It’s so nice to hear other people have similar fears to my own. I can tell you 100% (just as others have already) that it is totally do-able and that you somehow find a way to manage and things sorta fall into place when you have a child. Plus, keep in mind that when the time comes for you & Jacob, you’ll have 9 (well more like 10) months to sorta figure things out and take one step closer to all that motherhood has to offer. I know that might sound odd, but that’s how I felt during my pregnancy re: T1 diabetes.

My husband always reminds me that if I’m not in tip top shape (aka need to deal with lows, need to test blood sugars, need to eat properly etc.) then I won’t be of any use to my child, so I need to take care of myself first in order to take care of baby the best I possibly can.

When you’re ready, you can do anything you set your mind to!

Alexis,

I had two children while being on the pump. Both are healthy and I had normal pregnancies (aside from checking blood sugars about 100 times a day :)) My children know when to get the glucose meter and the glucose tablets (yes, they even sneak and eat a tablet once in a while) – it gets only embarrassing when they tell a complete stranger that “mom is high”…there is always a lot of explaining involved. Good luck – you can do this!

My two year diagnosis anniversary is at the end of this month – and we have been trying for the last 10 months to get pregnant. It is VERY encouraging that not only do others have the same worries as I do on juggling it all, but that it can be done and you can still have healthy wonderful babies:) When (if – yes, i am a little discouraged that I am not pregnant yet) I get pregnant, I am sure that ‘betes will just be just part of the process:)

Thank you for all the support ladies! “Mom is high” has got to be my new favorite quote – that is HILARIOUS. Thank you so much for all your comments, this is why I’m involved in the DOC!

I agree with everyone. It is scary at first but you find the balance and it helps if you have the dad around. If you are truely concerned, he should understand that he needs to step up in those super low situations.

I’m currently 6 months pregnant and have a 3 year old boy. What is great is whenever I’m low, I can tell Owen that “Mommy is sick” and he will go to the cabinet and get a juice box for me. I never asked him for that help before becoming pregnant but it is great to see the care he takes when trying to make his mommy feel better. I wouldn’t trade it for the world!

BTW, I was 32 when I had Owen and 35 when this baby girl is born. It is a little trickier as you get older but the doctor’s just ramp up the oversight. I send in glucose readings weekly and they adjust my settings each time.

Good luck when you decide to go for it!

Very interesting post Alexis! I’ve thought about this for our family now that my daughter with Type 1 has IBD and now that I also have IBD. Would I be able to manage all the medical stuff with a baby around? But, I can encourage you that once I became a mother, organizing and juggling skills I didn’t know I had kicked in and became sharper with use. For my daughter, if I know I need to check her BG in the morning, I do it quickly before I need to take a shower or start dinner, etc. I think it would be similar with your D and a baby…you would weave it into your baby schedule and manage brilliantly. :)

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