Sunday, April 21, 2013

It gets better

Dear parent of a newly diagnosed baby,

Let me start off by welcoming you to one of the crappiest subsets of an already pretty crappy club. I'm guessing you stumbled here by googling something like "my baby has type 1 diabetes" or "babies with type 1 blogs". Those are some of the more popular search terms.

Can I just tell you that I know? I get it. I understand the emotional hell you are living in right now. The questions you have swirling around in your head; why my child? Did I cause this? How can I do this? Will my baby be okay?

I understand the pain of having to hold down your baby, who doesn't get it, to give them a shot. I know too well the worry of them not being able to tell you if they're low. The fear of putting them down for their nap and having no idea what their BG is.  And yes, I get how hard it is to check a BG of a child who is asleep in their crib.

It sucks. It's okay... yell it from the rooftops if you want to. Go on.  I know you want to.  Because I wanted to.  I wanted to scream the F-word as loud and as long as I could almost every day.

But, can I tell you something?  It gets better.  It does.

I know right now it consumes your thoughts.  Your brain is bogged down with carb ratios, correction factors, carbs, blood sugars, ketones.  Diabetes constantly is swirling in your thoughts.  Everything you do, you have to factor diabetes in.  Your diaper bag, once used for normal baby things now is weighing you down with all the tools of the diabetes trade in it.

But there will come a time that you will actually forget that your child has diabetes.  For a few moments anyway.

You will be able to watch other children freebase apple juice without a jealous rage welling up inside of you.

You will stop living and dying by every number.  You will learn to interpret the story those numbers are trying to tell you.

Leaving the house won't seem so overwhelming.  I remember being so scared that I was forgetting something vital, but pretty soon you can tell you have everything you need with a single glance. 

You will become you again.  Not the you that you were before your baby was diagnosed.  But a better you.  A stronger you.  A more compassionate you. 

And the flow of tears will ebb. You will notice the times between emotional breakdowns will grow longer, and the breakdowns themselves; shorter. There will always be sadness residing in your heart, but with the passage of time, it will take up less and less space. 

Don't get me wrong, diabetes is STILL hard, and almost 5 years later there are days when emotionally I am transported right back to the beginning. The difference is, I am better equipped to handle it.  I have learned to not live in the darkness, but embrace the light of all that is good in my daughter's life.

To answer your questions; I may not know why any of our babies were chosen to first crawl and later walk this path, but I know this: You did not cause this anymore than I caused my daughter to have type 1 by only nursing her and making her homemade baby food with organic ingredients.

You can do this. Check out the many people on my blog roll who are also doing this.

And yes... your baby will be okay. Mine is. Just look at her.

I may not know who she would have been if diabetes had never entered our lives. But I do know that she has grown to be the sweetest, wisest, most loving and caring little girl.  She is truly a mother's dream.

She is absolutely incredible.

So are you.  You can do this.


  1. Replies
    1. And thank you for starting the YCDT movement!

  2. Such a beautiful post from someone I admire so much! I wish I could have read this when my baby was first diagnosed. Such pure truth in your made my heart cry. xoxo

  3. oh my goodness look how big she looks! I love her new haircut.
    As for you post - it's true, it does get better - but it also sucks ARSE sometimes, too! I wonder when I'll look at a donut (Ethan's favorite treat breakfast!) as just being a fun treat without having my stomach churn in alarm about how it will cause BG havoc. I recently had a high school acquaintance msg me because her son was dx with t1d, I cried and then told her all about how it would be okay. I told her all we've done since dx and all TJ's done since his dx over 20 yrs ago. I also told her it still is hard though and she's not alone. That is what I am most amazed with - the DOC, the friendships, the honesty.
    Take care and thanks for this post. I hope a family of recently dx come across it quickly upon dx and realize how they aren't alone and all will be okay :)

  4. Look how adorable she is!!!
    Our son was diagnosed almost two years ago, yet reading this post even now is helpful. I vividly remember the first time we left the house after our return from the hospital, and the associated stress, anxiety, and general feeling of being overwhelmed. Somehow we became pros at it in no time. I also remember leaning into the crib to check him each night and feeling like I was breaking a rib to reach him. And if he needed an injection...oh boy! We eventually said goodbye to the adorable footed PJs because we needed the ease of pants that could easily be pulled down. We rejoiced when it was time to move him into a big boy bed! But what you say is true; it has gotten easier. It has. I just need a reminder now and then. Like now, when he has been prescribed a steroid for an illness and it is wreaking havoc on his blood sugar. It still consumes my thoughts, but he IS okay. He's more than okay. He's incredible.

  5. Beautiful (your writing and your daughter)!

    Thank you for writing this!

  6. Fabulous!

    And when the heck did she grow up so much?!?!

  7. Very well! "freebasing apple juice" made me LOL!

  8. Loved every word because it's all so true! You are simply fab Jo!

  9. I have to admit... I may have said the "F word" a whole lot.

  10. I have a pretty amazing wife/daughter combo...

  11. SO AMAZING!!! Love this post, love, love, love! You and Elise are simply the best! :)

  12. Thanks for the words of encouragement. My son was diagnosed last year at the age of 1. Its good to know that the struggle becomes somewhat more bearable...I'm slowly but surely finding that out


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