Diabetes and Parenting, Anxiety in the Making

 

We know what can make a person anxious.  An unfamiliar social setting, an upcoming doctor visit, a college graduation resulting in a fear of the unknown, being the first to say the words, “I love you”.  Anxiety is a normal thing in life.  What’s not normal is feeling too much anxiety.

Having diabetes may mean fighting a constant thread of anxiety 100% of the time.  Having children, I’ve learned, produces more anxiety than I could have ever imagined.  Many of us find it can be worrisome to spend all day alone as a diabetic.  Never mind spending all day alone with diabetes and two little ones to look after. 

My mother stopped by the other day around lunchtime and worried when I didn’t answer the incessant door knocking and phone rings.  She finally got management to open up my apartment door.  Turns out the kids and I were sound asleep at nap time (I don’t normally nap).  It made me realize however, the anxiety for her as a parent, doesn’t go away just because I’m 27.

When you combine diabetes and children, such as in the case of my parents, who raised two kids with type 1 diabetes (plus three others), or in my case, a type 1 diabetic raising two children, you get…ANXIETY!  Before my day has hardly begun, I’m already feeling a little wigged out.

For example, when I wake up in the morning there is this feeling of urgency to get out the meter and (fingers crossed!) hope for a good number.  If I’m low, I “run, run, run” to the kitchen for some juice because “I’m alone with the kids and they depend on me”.  If I’m high, “oh no, how am I gonna deal with this and the kids this morning?” is what goes through my head.  Let’s say my blood sugar is good and I know that in 10 minutes I’m going to make breakfast for everyone.  I give insulin and wash up.  Next, I change the kid’s diapers (a major challenge nowadays), their clothes (yet, another struggle), give them a bottle, clean up the couch (they like to pour milk on it), and make their breakfast.  I think, “When did I give insulin? Ah yes, 10 minutes ago.  Ok, so in about 5 minutes I have to be eating something”.  I put the kids in their high chairs and give them their meal.  I’m about to take a bite when, “No! Please don’t take your brother’s food!  And please sit down! Thank you!”  I’m about to try that bite again but, “No throwing food on the floor guys!  Eat your food, please.”  I walk over to pick up the food on the floor and get the kids to sit properly.  Then, “Uh oh, I think I’m getting low”.  I guzzle some juice, forgetting about breakfast, entirely.  My heart races.  Back to the kids, “No no, don’t run your dirty fingers through your hair, please!”  I pick up the kids, take them to the sink to get their hands and faces washed up.  Man they’re heavy when I’m a little low.  I struggle to get them out of the bathroom because they love to flush the toilet and always try to lean into the tub.  I stumble back to the kitchen and finish my juice only to see the kids jumping on the couch.  I run over to prevent the little monkeys from falling.  They don’t want down.  I say, “Ok, let’s read some books!”  We read “Goodnight Moon” 20 times.  “Uh oh, I feel low again.  Run back to the kitchen and grab some juice.  Mental note: “Sysy, just don’t give insulin tomorrow morning, just don’t eat, it’s easier”.  <SIGHHH>  (Now you all see why I’m better off eating lower carbs= less insulin!)

This is just my first hour of the day.  The 10 hours that follow are very similar.  If the mix of parenting and diabetes doesn’t cause a person anxiety, I don’t know what does. 

God Bless you if you live with some combination of diabetes and parenting. :)

9 Comments

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Wow, that sounds like an exciting morning. Doubly exciting with twins! Maybe you should have a white board (or notepad, or something) where you keep track of the insulin times.

I got Daphne a copy of Goodnight Moon last week, along with several other used board books from Amazon. The coffee table has a small pile of books, although she doesn’t seem to be overly interested in them, yet. We’ll be ready when she is. :)

I have a white board that I used when the babies were born to track feedings. Great idea, Wes! I really should use it to track my insulin giving times!

Yay for baby Daphne, she’s so lucky to have two parents that are so eager to read to her :) And I don’t know what it is about Goodnight Moon but it’s a hit!

You have to be like superwoman to do all that and stay sane so go you! :] I can’t see myself being able to do all that, but hopefully i’ll be able to handle it when the time comes haha. Great article though, I especially liked reading this one.

Thanks, Ana! I think you’ll be fine! More relaxed than me, that’s for sure ;)

Oh, I can SO relate to this article! And twins…talk about stress and anxiety..wow!
I never had anxiety until being a type 1 diabetic mom of 2 kiddos. It’s a constant juggling act for me…praying for a “good” day each morning and dreading the day ahead if I’m having highs or lows. For me, the mood swings associated with having high bg’s and the scary feeling when I’m low is what produces the most anxiety. Being a mom is tough enough, but adding being diabetic to the mix can definitely produce anxiety!
I didn’t become type 1 until after the birth of my second daughter, so I often think back to those carefree days when I was a non-diabetic mom of 1 and really miss them. I didn’t know how good I had it :( Now, I just try to be the best diabetic mommy I can be to my 2 sweet girls and don’t allow myself to dwell on the good ole days before D.

Kirsten, Thanks for commenting! And I totally agree with what you said about what produces the most anxiety, same here!

I agree. I have been a type 1 from the age of 7, so 28 years now. Not to mention, my 2 year- old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 this past Sunday. Talk about stress, I have to check her blood sugar, and then mine! Her insulin, and then mine!

Aww Kat, you’ve got the double whammy…:( I’m sorry about your daughter. Wishing you both the best.

Wow… boy, does that bring back memories… I didn’t have twins, but my two boys are grown now (22 & 18) and I lived almost 6 years that way. A constant blur & frankly, I ended up keeping my sugars higher than normal just to avoid the lows b/c they’d be BAD & I did a lot of driving by the time they were school age. Then we decided to home school. WEEE!!!! ;) Surprisingly, still lots of driving, just longer trips & not as often but a driving diabetic mommy in a minivan full of kids? (okay, not full usually unless I had another mom/kids w/us!) Sheesh… not good.
Just wanted to say, hang in there. It gets better as they get older & learn when mom is low/high they need to be more courteous/helpful etc. You’ll be surprised by how wonderfully they can respond to your needs if you teach them about diabetes and let them know what’s happening w/you etc.
God bless!
Geannie in KY

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