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Sunday, June 7, 2015

It gets better

Yesterday I volunteered at the  JDRF's TypeOneNation Summit.  I was manning (womanning?) the table for our local support group, and had the opportunity to speak with many newly diagnosed families.  One in particular moved me to tears.

A grandma to a two-year old boy was attending the event.  She spoke to me about how overwhelmed her daughter-in law was and it reminded me of a post I wrote a few years ago.  I gave the woman the info for our support group, as well as the address of my blog.  I'm re-posting this with hope that she will read it and start to believe there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Good luck to you.  We are here for you if you need us.

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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 7 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.

5 comments:

  1. Beautifully written. I hope that daughter-in-law is able to reach out and find support to get her through. Having been diagnosed T1 (LADA) late in life and dealing with the emotions of it all as an adult was pretty overwhelming that first year. Being a mother of three non-D kids and remembering the hectic times when they were babies…well, I can't fully comprehend how difficult that must have been for you but I have complete compassion. Thanks for this wonderful post.

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  2. In some ways, I'm wondering if it was my mother-in-law who spoke with you. I, too, am a mother of a little boy who was diagnosed 17 days before his second birthday in August 2014. We are on the roller coaster of Type 1 Diabetes and my heart aches every single day. Thank you so much for this post. It's so helpful to read about someone who "gets it"-- even about the diaper bag-- that is so true! And about being jealous when other kids chug apple juice.

    Thank you so much for writing this. It's absolutely what I needed to read.

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