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. :)