Motherhood and Type 1 Diabetes
Back when I was a 19 year old nursing student I was sitting in my university Pathophysiology class and the professor started talking about the main symptoms of diabetes. I carefully nodded my head, taking it all in and understanding how quickly uncontrolled diabetes could take a turn for the worse.
I sat there sipping my Coca Cola and went on to study the rest of the afternoon away. Only fleetingly thinking about the odd frequency of my trips to the bathroom to pee and the weird way my mouth was dry as a bone. I slurped back another sip of Coke and kept on studying.
From rereading my huge pathophysiology text and matching up my symptoms, I knew that something was just not right with my body. I was feeling a bit of stress from nursing school and the intense course work and let myself believe that it was all just stress.
A week later I went to my family doctor and it turned out that my pancreas had given up producing insulin all together. Sugar was floating around my blood at dangerously high levels making me feel incredibly tired and really gross. The dry cotton mouth and the need to pee a few times every hour were also big red flags. ‘Hello! You have diabetes!‘.
With more education and lots of family support, managing my diabetes did become part of my life. Needles and finger pokes were just adapted into my lifestyle and are really no big deal for me. I make changes in my insulin doses based on working night shifts or day shifts and always made sure to pack snacks for low blood sugar fixes.
My husband and I traveled Europe through time changes and eating out and my diabetes came along with me. For me, it was never a huge issue to be a type 1 diabetic and I made it part of my daily life.
Fast forward to motherhood and it’s the single most influence on managing my diabetes.
Apparently type 1 diabetics are suppose to eat healthy food on a pretty regimented schedule and take their insulin like clockwork. However, everyone knows that mothers often eat the scraps of old waffles from their kids breakfast plates while making sure their kids eat well balanced meals.
Apparently type 1 diabetics are suppose to get ample sleep so their cortisol levels don’t spike making their blood glucose rise. However, everyone knows that mothers live on threads of interrupted sleep.
Apparently type 1 diabetics should take their insulin doses on a very strict schedule. However, sometimes you get so busy trying to get your kids ready to get out the door that you literally forget.
Apparently motherhood complicates type 1 diabetes.
Motherhood is a busy business and there isn’t a lot of room for chronic disease. Taking care of yourself is important and vital but it seems that mothers are often the last ones to be taken care of. How does that work if you also have a chronic disease to take care of?
If you’re the mother who has missed out on regular showers, enough sleep and haven’t had a hot cup of coffee in weeks then you probably can imagine the trouble that comes with being a type 1 diabetic and a mom.
It’s already a constant struggle to take care of myself as ‘Andrea the person‘ and even more so to manage my disease. Unfortunately, the side effects of not taking care of my diabetes are extremely dire so it’s something that I need to make sure happens.
Since I love being a mother to my three kids, I have to make it a priority to manage my diabetes and really take care of my whole self.