As a stand here rocking Ian, my five-month-old baby boy, back and forth and back again and again. I think about how much I love him, as the drool was cascading from my shoulder down my back. Ah, the wonders of raising a child. I think of the precious times we’ve had and will have.
Before the birth of my son people would ask me “Are you scared?” and thought to myself every time, “Of what, being a father?” I would tell them no, and there was nothing else to say. But, why not yes? I guess being honest with myself, after spending 40 years taking care of diabetes how difficult could it be? I know what you might be thinking. Some of you are going are you kidding me?
Some of you are going yeah, that sounds about right. Life is funny that way. What is even funnier is that, either way, they’re both true. Since I started writing this blog, I had to stop. I don’t know, maybe ten times to care for my son. That is one for the, “are you kidding me” side.
At this moment I am trying to use voice recognition, while holding my son. It is not going as well as I planned. And I just want to thank my son for his input on my blog, “blah, blah,” is picked up from voice recognition along with the word “Fish.” Good grief! Although priceless, it is not very productive. Okay, I think I’m going take a break to attend to my son, and I will be back in the next paragraph.
I’m back. Yes, my diabetes did give me an edge due to the similarities, and yes they also don’t compare in other ways. When I don’t feel well I can deduce what is wrong with me. When my son is crying, it’s a guessing game. Is he hungry, is it gas, is he tired, etc.?
Now, imagine if you will, some of you reading won’t have to, calming a screaming child while dealing with a low blood sugar. You never know when diabetes will strike. For example, I went to take care of my son, and while trying to figure out why my child had started to cry, my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) went off, and my blood sugar was low.
With all the running around and extra things to remember, some things will be forgotten, low blood sugars will occur, and the ability to manage diabetes becomes exponentially harder. It happens to the best of us and more often with the unpredictability of raising a child. What do we feel, do, and think when taking care of our children and we need taking care of as well?
You want to talk about the fast track to fatigue, exhaustion, and burnout? Managing diabetes and raising a child will get you there super fast, without the right supports in place. Feelings of frustration and anger arise while helplessness sets in.
Your CGM goes off as you sit with your child in your lap, during bottle or breastfeeding. If you are thinking just check the meter and have something to take if needed. That is easier said than done. Did I fail to mention your baby is on your lap and the CGM is in your pocket? Unfortunately, your child cries bloody murder every time you stop feeding for even a second!
So I was discussing a similar situation with my therapist who gave me a simple solution if my blood sugars go low while taking care of Ian. My therapist said when your blood sugars are low while you are trying to calm your child, don’t worry, or put yourself at risk. Just put your baby in a safe place like their crib. Then take care of the low blood sugar till it returns to normal. Your child will cry during this time, but it is better than you passed out on the floor, with your child left unattended.
It may seem blatantly obvious, but it is painful to watch your child cry. Many, individuals living with diabetes during an average work day will, at times, continue to work despite having a low blood sugar, over the fear of losing their job. We are emotional beings that don’t always think clearly around emotional decisions.
I just couldn’t see it till my therapist pointed it out and it’s one of the reasons I keep going as well as the greater insight and a fresh perspective. My therapist doesn’t make my decisions, but she helps me make better choices for myself and my diabetes management. Regular visits help me reduce the chances of diabetes burnout.
We get so wrapped up in everyday life that we, as human beings, have difficulty seeing what is right in front of us. It can be difficult to have clarity without discussing our unique life events with a nonbias professional, who are trained to help people find individualized solutions and interventions, like a psychotherapist. So many issues arise when a newborn enters the picture. The right therapist can help a person sort out the mess caused by both the introduction of a newborn or caretaking for a young child and living with diabetes.
Good thing diabetes-focused psychotherapy is around and designed to help people manage the feelings of frustration and anger as well as the practical side.
For more on Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy visit my website at www.diabetictalks.com