Appreciating parents of kids with diabetes, and the parent in all of us

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The excerpt below is from my book, The ABCs Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes 26 life-lessons to stay strong managing diabetes. I also wrote another page for the book that I never used. It’s for those of us who have diabetes to parent ourselves. It’s below with the title: “G is for Gently Nudging Yourself Forward.” 

Excerpt: “G is for Grabbing onto Hope for You and Your Little One”

For parents, diabetes can feel like the death of your dream- a child who’s happy, healthy and has every opportunity. The theft of childhood, a new family dynamic, finding the right doctors, exhaustion and worry are now fixed aspects of your life.

You may even feel guilty or like you let your child down missing the warning signs of diabetes. Know that this is not your fault; you couldn’t have prevented it. Forgive yourself, you are the source of your child’s strength now.

Help restore a sense of normalcy for, and around, your child. And don’t neglect your other children, who are also affected. Create special days to celebrate each one of them.

Remember, children take their cue from you and every day remarkable things are happening to change the face of diabetes.

Reflection: Teach the people closest to you how to do blood sugar checks and let them take over now and then. Think who you can ask for support from and what they can do to help. Keeping yourself strong, safe  sure – and not sleep deprived – will most help your child.

NOTE: Here’s one advance on the horizon for Type 1 diabetes.

G is for Gently Nudging Yourself Forward

“It’s not where you start it’s where you finish,” If you’re over 50, you might recognize this line from a show-tune. It’s also a pretty good motto for life. If you want to accomplish something it doesn’t really matter where you start from. What matters is putting in the effort. When you first heard you had diabetes maybe, like the ostrich who buries his head in the sand, it was too much to face and you ignored it. Forgive yourself for any past mistakes. What matters is what you do now.

Decide today you will take one step to take better care of your diabetes. One step. Not five or six or ten. You can open a book about diabetes and read one chapter. Read one internet site. Take one class in your area. If you think you should be eating less or better, exercising more, checking your blood sugar more frequently, do one of these things today. 

In other words, gently nudge yourself forward; let the parent in you provide a shoulder to lean against while you’re moving forward. As you progress, pick another step to take. The finish line is the place where your diabetes is in good control and one step at a time is the best way to reach it.

“Gently” also means be kind to yourself, because changing habits takes some work at first. Don’t decide to run a mile today if you haven’t walked down the street lately. Don’t cut your calories in half, you’ll only overeat tomorrow. Don’t check your blood sugar every hour, that’s neither easy nor kind. But do decide on something realistic you can do from where you are right now.

Remember too, some days will be easier than others. Be extra kind to yourself on the hard days.

If you take small, steady steps forward, no matter where you start from, it’s pretty sure, “You’re going to finish on top!”

Reflection: Write down 1 new step you’ll take today. Be very specific: what you’ll do, when you’ll do it, how much you’ll do, how you’ll do it. Then do it!

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