You know what comes with a child who is diabetic. MOM GUILT. And I guess it’s more so parent guilt, but as mom’s we like to feel like we’re special.
But that guilt starts when you are presented with the diagnosis. The thoughts start running through your head, “what did I do wrong?” “Was it something I did when I was pregnant?” “I should have caught it sooner, maybe we could have done something!” All of those thoughts we know LOGICALLY are all untrue. But emotions are so much stronger than logic sometimes, and we feel like we have put our child in this position.
Then, there is the guilt around watching them poked and prodded every day. My son, Logan, wanted nothing to do with an insulin pump for almost two years after he was diagnosed. I think mostly because he saw his daddy take shots and prick his finger every day, so that was “normal” to him, he wasn’t about to try something unknown right now. And Logan was amazing and at six years old refused to allow anyone else do his shots but him. But the pit in my throat each time I had to wake him up because he fell asleep early to take his insulin, and the meltdowns that would ensue were perfect for the “mom guilt” to build up.
Or, when he wanted to go to a friend’s house, and I had to talk to the parents and explain that he was diabetic and that he couldn’t really have any snacks. And then the guilt of almost getting his sugar higher than I would like it, just to avoid him going low when I wasn’t around. Guilt, Guilt, Guilt.
But…when those moment of guilt came up, there were almost always moments of intense PRIDE. I am proud of Logan because he still gets up every day to be a regular kid. The only person that is going to give him limitations is me, and he is sure to tell me that too! He was giving himself 5-6 shots a DAY at the age of SIX!!! How could I NOT be proud of that kid!
So, when those emotions come; when the guilt, or the anger or sadness come up, remember:
You get to choose how you feel.
You get to choose whether or not you want to feel that way.
And no matter what you choose, it doesn’t make you any less of an amazing parent.
You get to choose how long you feel that way. When you are thinking how it’s not fair, and that makes you feel sad or guilty.
How willing would you be to try something different?
What if you thought: “how can I make my son/daughter know I love them today?” How does that make you feel?
I would encourage you to go with that. It’s going to do you both a lot of good.
This blog post is PART TWO of IT TAKES A FAMILY: LIFE WITH TYPE 1, written by Lindsay Dunlap.
The Dunlap family lives with two generations of T1D, and Lindsay is graciously sharing their experience with us. If you’d like to connect with Lindsay, she’d be happy to talk about the highs and lows with you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to learn more about the Central Ohio Diabetes Association, including support for families through programs such as Camp Hamwi.