A Type 1 Diabetic’s Decision to Have Children
I’m surprised to find out how many men and women with type 1 diabetes feel having children is an irresponsible thing for them to do. I understand many reasons for this. I myself have felt that I would only one day have children if I could do it responsibly.
For me, this meant acquiring tight glucose control prior to opening up a possibility for pregnancy and it meant not opening up a possibility for pregnancy if I didn’t have good glucose control or if my body was failing me.
I feel blessed to have become type 1 diabetic at 11 years old rather than say, age one. This means far less cumulative damage by child bearing age. I also feel blessed to have found the right man at a relatively young age. I used to think that I’d just adopt if the circumstances weren’t right for me.
Some people don’t want to have children simply because of the risk they might pass on their diabetes to their child. I really understand this fear. I had it, or rather, have it. My decision in the matter was suppressed a little when I was told I’d probably never get pregnant and so after being surprised with having twins, I feel like it was “meant to be”. I was nudged into having faith that no matter what happens, everything will be alright. This doesn’t mean I don’t do mad amounts of research on how to minimize the risk for type 1 diabetes in my kids, though.
That is how it worked out for me and how I feel about my own situation. When it comes to someone else’s decision, I like to think each type 1 diabetic knows themselves best and knows what the right decision is. Or I hope so, anyway.
What I don’t think is right is someone telling me I’ve been irresponsible because I’ve had children. Yes, I may have passed on a horrible gene. I also might have passed down a musical genius gene from Frederic Chopin, since I’m related to him. The point is, we can’t say that no diabetic should have children. A life without suffering is not guaranteed no matter what our genes are. And if you ask me, I’m glad I was born. Yes, I’ve suffered, but that suffering created some of the best of me. And it’s made my joys all the richer. If I had the choice to start my life at 11 years old and do it all over again with diabetes, I would.
What about you? What do you think?