Parenting a Child With Type 1 Diabetes
I can picture him now — his eyes were bloodshot from chronic sleep deprivation, his hands shaky from anxiety; he talked like someone stuck in a losing battle from which there was no escape; he was angry, scared, and unsettled and had no idea what to do next. He was a parent of a young child with Type 1 diabetes. I met with him (and his daughter) years ago because I was a therapist who also happened to have Type 1 diabetes. We weren’t meeting in any official capacity — it was arranged through a family friend who knew this man and his daughter were going through an incredibly tough transition and figured I would be the person to talk to, given my combination of personal and professional experience.
I have seen that combination of fear, helplessness, and exhaustion in parents several times since, and every time I see it, my heart goes out to them. Being a parent of a child with Type 1 diabetes is not easy! I say this as someone who hasn’t had the experience of being a parent, but as someone who has lived with Type 1 diabetes for over 23 years. So I don’t presume to know what it must feel like to parent a child with this disease, but I hope that my combination of experiences might mean I have some meaningful advice to give to those of you who are in this most stressful situation.
You have diabetes, too
A friend of mine raising a five-year-old with Type 1 once said that she and her husband felt like they had “Type 3” diabetes. I thought that was a great description. She explained that in many ways, it really felt like she might as well have diabetes, since the mana Continue reading