Being a first-time mom is challenging. Being a first-time mom to a toddler is challenging. Being a first-time mom to a toddler with type 1 diabetes is even more challenging.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 3 years old. This autoimmune disorder prevents the pancreas from producing any insulin, the hormone that is necessary to convert glucose into energy to fuel the body. As of right now, the cause of type 1 diabetes is unknown and there is no cure.
My parents were forced to juggle the challenges of not only raising children but also learning how to manage type 1 diabetes. While both parents were integral parts to establishing a safe and caring home, my mother deserves way more credit, appreciation, and love than I could ever convey to her.
My mother dedicated her entire 20s to taking care of me.
She is an exceptionally nurturing, compassionate, empathetic, and wise mother, but what is most commendable is she had double duty as being a private nurse. Type 1 diabetes is unpredictable, especially a fresh diagnosis for a toddler. It is incredibly commendable that my mother learned how to roll vials of insulin, fill syringes, and give her toddler insulin shots twice a day. Not only administering insulin, but she had to learn how to check her daughter's blood glucose levels several times a day, balance meals, attend endocrinologist appointments, learn about this autoimmune disease, provide detailed instructions for others, and teach her growing daughter about her body's condition.
I appreciated my mother while I was growing up, but that appreciation multiplied immensely as I grew older. Now that I'm in my early 20s, I can hardly imagine the responsibility of raising kids right now, especially if the child has type 1 diabetes. Now that I'm in my 20s and living away at school, I know the unpredictability of living with type 1 diabetes and I've lived with this condition for the majority of my life. Sometimes I have super low blood glucose levels when it's totally unexpected and sometimes I have super high blood glucose levels when it's totally unexpected. Today, I am 22 years old, and I can feel my blood glucose level changing. At this point in my life, I have a heightened sense of body awareness. When I was 3, I definitely did not have this level of self-awareness to understand when I was feeling super high or super low. Knowing that, it was probably even more stressful for my mother to take of me.
Regardless of the intense challenges, my mother persevered.
Her strength inspired me to be strong too when I was so young and could not fathom what was happening to me. I cannot imagine how frightening that must have been for a mother to watch her daughter go through and then to suddenly have to put her fears aside and learn how to care for a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic.
There are a million reasons why I am eternally grateful for my mother. One of the most important reasons is for the inner strength she relentlessly possesses in parenting a type 1 diabetic child.
Thank you, mom, for enduring the stressful and scary endeavor of giving me insulin injections for so many years of my life. You modeled how to adapt to novel circumstances, laid the important foundation for me to live successfully with a chronic health condition, and truly saved my life.