T1D Self-Care during Motherhood

@Nickyghaleb has already essentially started this thread beautifully. And maybe this thread has a narrow audience. But I hope that it is helpful to anyone that it can reach.

In watching the reactions to the discussion from the “14 hours without insulin” thread, it struck me which posts resonated with which people. Not scientific, but probably not without something to learn there.

I was diagnosed at 21 years old, newly engaged, wrapping up my Bachelor’s degree in Aviation-Flight when I suddenly needed to learn how to keep myself alive and keep myself employable since T1D tanked my career. I managed all of those things with gusto and impressed all of my doctors, professors, employers. I am not bragging. I am saying that I was succeeding at a big challenge and I found identity in that.

Fast forward to 26 years old…I successfully completed my first pregnancy. My child was born hypoglycemic for the first few hours because the hospital was using the wrong insulin dosing chart for my three days of labor. But he recovered and (knock on wood) has shown no signs since. What he did have, though, was colic. 14 weeks of 23 hours of screaming a day. I was home for six weeks on maternity leave and then started negotiating the world of working motherhood because I carried the health insurance. Also had to learn to navigate day care relationships but that is another story. I accepted the fact that I couldn’t just go on a walk whenever I needed to for BG. I accepted the fact that sleep deprivation was going to happen. A lot. I accepted the fact that pre-bolusing was risky because if it’s just me with the kiddo and something blows up with the kiddo, as it often happened with colic and let’s be honest, just with kids in general, that things could go off the tracks in a hurry.

Then I had my second healthy kiddo at 29 years old. He did not have colic, but he was still a baby with a lot of needs. Adorable and exhausting needs.

My kids are 8 and 5 this summer. I have more breathing room on letting them play out front in the culdesac…because I can run up to the porch to test anytime I need to or grab a juice if necessary (Cars get lost in our neighborhood and whip around in our culdesac and generally don’t watch for kids playing. I also teach my kids to stay on sidewalks as much as possible bc we’re not heathens.) I have more room to pre-bolus bc sh!t doesn’t go sideways as fast or as often with kids at this age. I am getting more sleep. I can take more walks when I need to…but that also depends on my husband’s work schedule and if he’s sleeping for a night shift, etc.

Point is: Caring for myself and being sole caretaker much of the time for my kids changes the game from where I WAS. I am motivated. I am intelligent. I am observant. But my current care plan still doesn’t seem to be meeting my needs without leaving a massive footprint on family life. This is not without trying: I’ve hired a consultant CDE, I’ve tried a new insulin after 12 years on a different one, I’ve tried new pump sites, I’ve logged everything, I’ve changed my bolus timing and size for site care, I’ve changed my diet, I’ve danced Islet Cell Rain Dances (just kidding…I might have done that once when drunk but who knows), I’ve diagrammed the heck out of my hormone cycles and know things about insulin resistance due to hormones that no healthcare provider seems to know, but I’m still a “B-” diabetic putting in the effort of an “A” diabetic.

I have to conclude, to at least some degree, that being responsible for other living beings in addition to myself changes my T1D self-care. To this point, it has taken up some of my bandwidth in a way that generally produces less-tight BG control. I have to imagine that I am not alone in that. Having children is a process that obviously directly impacts your body in a way that impacts your T1D. But it’s so much more than just physical.

[And I don’t think I need to say this, but my children are wonderful and I love them like crazy and they are my world.]

What do other T1D moms find helpful? What are the hacks? What are the mental parameters? Where do you draw the line of “good enough”? What is your “after” like compared to your “before”?


Thanks for starting this thread. I don’t have any tips or tricks as I’m still in that adjustment/trying to survive place. :slightly_smiling_face:


Everything I’ve seen of you on FUD indicates that you are a very kind and optimistic person. That will serve you VERY well in motherhood! :grinning:

:laughing: that is so funny. It must be my internet alter ego, because I am not an optimistic person in real life.

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In the sleep deprived fog of my first maternity leave with my screaming, colicky baby…I fired our Orkin man in person, to his face.

We had asked him not to ring the doorbell when he came. We had asked him to only spray outside. He decided to be helpful when he arrived and ring the doorbell since he could see me inside.

My son, who had spent the prior nine hours of the day screaming non-stop and not napping, had JUST fallen asleep. The doorbell undid his sleep condition. I took my screaming baby outside to meet the Orkin man and informed him, “We will not be needing your services any longer. Please leave my property.”

So…yeah…maybe everyone gives different impressions everywhere… :joy:

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I can’t even imagine. We considered my daughter “high needs” as a baby, but at least she slept SOME of the time. :fearful:

Okay. Found our first difference. I fell FLAT on my face right out of the gate. Something ugly. I was 27, so, technically, I had a little something on you, but it just didn’t translate… BUT I also had a newborn baby. So, come to think of it, I’m going to go easy on myself.

Here’s another semi-hit. Yes, my diabetes self-management was HIGHLY depend on whether or not my little one was going to allow it, but I didn’t know enough about my disease to be able to sacrifice the pre-bolus. Which is interesting because I have a passion for learning… but I chose not to learn about diabetes. Anyway about working on your baby’s schedule, that’s actually huge. I learned some pretty bad habits very early on, and those were mostly based on the fact that I would take care of myself after I took care of him. Good intention. Bad strategy. It put me on a shaky path… the procrastination by justification path. My newborn was also a handful and by the time he was 2, he was diagnosed with ASD. This was also when I discovered an early melanoma, and I was traveling to Boston, baby with autism in arms, for continuing care. He, 2 then, used to spit on me when he got upset. And he would get VERY upset when I’d go down to the floor with a low (which may have been when I learned the habit of always staying high). These were very hard times. Yes, procrastination by justification… diabetes, so early on, just didn’t need the kind of attention everything else in my world did.

All three of my pregnancies were very difficult. And very scary. I didn’t develop diabetes until the resolution of the first, so that a1c just was what it was, but the other two pregnancies were surprises. BIG surprises as I had been told I wouldn’t be able to have any more. Both of the pregnancies began at an a1c of a 10.3. I dropped to a 7 within maybe 4 weeks. I couldn’t even LOOK at a carb. All i could think about was bananas… and how badly I wanted a dozen. I ate so much tofu I STILL can’t handle the sight of it. Getting a little sick thinking of it. I entered the hospital at 24 weeks with my second baby, and I kept it together until 27 weeks. He was born a 2 lb micropreemie. He’s a full grown, royal pain in the butt now. My third one stopped moving at 35 weeks and we went in for an emergency c-section. One torn bladder later, he was here. Three very bad infections. Three very bad recovery periods. I think I feel the need to go remind them of these things really quick. Just a trick guilt trip down memory lane. :smiley:

Changes… Yes, my kids are also bigger, and that has made available a shift in focus. They still get almost all of me, but sometimes it’s just gotta wait. Or they just have to get it themselves. They even put themselves to sleep sometimes. Which is not ideal because the way that works is that first they put ME to sleep, despite my best efforts to make sure they go to sleep, too, and then they come to bed whenever they want to. There’s some room for improvement there, but we’re doing okay. 5, 8, and 13. My husband has also matured, finally. He was not really all that involved in or moved by my diabetes before. To the point it was pretty selfish. But I began slipping him Prozac, and… Just kidding. We talked. He really does make an effort.

I have been writing so long and just kind of going with whatever comes to mind, that I have forgotten the point of this. I think this is about motherhood… and diabetes…

Which is funny because it seems I don’t have anything to say about that. :smiley: I have no tips… I only survived the early years by luck, and I believe that. I just didn’t do quite badly enough to actually be killed on the spot. Motherhood, when you like your children, is a very big motivator. And my kids, because I do like them very much (less than when they were little and didn’t talk), were the adrenaline rush I needed to lift the diabetes car. Off the lady. I need to wrap this up.

Motherhood and diabetes. I’m JUST now learning that there can be balance. My oldest is 13. Most of my experience in this department has included the absolute best intentions with all the wrong priorities and a heaping serving of neglect. Of my diabetes. Not my children. So now that I have shared my ENTIRE life history, every single painful detail, I’d like to see what others have found to work…


You really are the most optimistic pessimistic person i’ve ever met then… cuz I got that from you, too. :slight_smile:


@Nickyghaleb - props to you, girl! What I see when I see your story is a superhero. I don’t buy that you neglected your diabetes as if you had a choice in the matter. You were triaging. Motherhood is triage. Motherhood plus diabetes is super triage. And now your rubber band has some stretch to spare (I don’t know how) and you are spending it on your health. Which brings me back to seeing a superhero.


You are sweet. It may have something to do with having a limited social life, but if we’re going with super hero, then okay. :grin:


Social life? What’s that? :wink:


That almost got a tear. We have to have rules around here… no tear-jerking. I think we should follow Eric’s lead on this and respond to sappiness with, “I don’t even know what you just said.”




So for anyone who comes to this thread now or in the future looking for some guidance…here’s what I think after 8 years of T1D momming (take it for what it’s worth):

  1. Be kind to yourself. You are responsible for caring for other humans while manually pinch-hitting for a hormonal process that is intensely difficult to replicate.
  2. Know your own boundaries. For me, this comes in the form of not saying “yes” to everything that is asked of me just because I want to be nice to people. It is okay to say “no” to invitations or requests for volunteers for an event or whatever. If it’s too much, it’s too much. And it is okay to say so.
  3. Know your kids’ boundaries. Stretching little kids’ schedules is as tough on them as it will be on you. Doing it every once in a while is okay in my household…but that is assuming we’re not doing it routinely. If nap time is sacred for your child (or for you), enforce that. If meal routines are sacred, enforce that. You will be better off in the long run. And it will help your own blood sugar, too.
  4. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. The priorities don’t have to be the same every day. But just know that lots of things will be left undone and that’s fine as long as the true priorities are getting taken care of.
  5. Forget about “should”. I have stricken that word from my vocabulary. I had too much of a mental image of what daily life “should” look like for raising my kids the “best” way I could. Now I go for “real”. And I know that what is important in our house is probably different than what’s important in someone else’s house. And that’s fine. We’re working with a different set of playing cards and we’re rocking it with what we’ve got.

It’s this place… and an occasional awkward conversation with another parent at a school concert… so I hear…

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Ughh…my girls are both out of college now and the thought of one of those conversations at an elementary school “event” still makes me cringe. :sunglasses:


Allison, your 5 rules for Unlimited D Mom’s are ones I needed as a working mom with young kids 15 years ago…and I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 55!!

I have so much respect for all the parents of young kids, those who are diabetics and those who care for the youngest of the unlimited D’s. And double that for Diabetics (@Aaron) who also have children that are D as well!!


I second that on @Aaron… some people are just inspiring.


I didn’t see this until yesterday, and it went right to the top of my very long list of things to do immediately, and here I am today just getting to it…

I love your list. And I think I’m experiencing mood swings because just as I’ve left 5 anger faces with my Facebook group today, everything in here, your list included, has left me in danger of crying. I’d say public crying, but I’m not stupid enough to leave the house in this condition.

I’ve never mastered (or even learned on the most basic level) your #1… that’s a hard one. So I’d like to throw my full weight behind it, and say it should not just be #1, but #s 1,2, and 3, and if you don’t know how to or why to, #s 4 and 5 should be about taking the time and taking the measures to understand. This is not a self-absorbed kind of thing. Somehow, for me, it seems that to be able fully to partake in any kind of healthy and sustainable (that’s my word of the week) self-care program, steps 1-5 (in my edited version) must be mastered. To be kind, and understand the importance of being kind, to yourself. These can’t be glossed over or cliff-notes’d… There must be full comprehension and appreciation of the concept, as well as an ATTEMPT to fulfill it on a daily basis.

I have a LOT more to say, but as usual, not enough time to say it. Speaking of priorities, my kids are begging me to throw “shower” at the top of mine so everyone can enjoy their air again. :grin:

I’d also like to throw this out there… I’m not sure if it’s a personality thing, a life thing, a diabetes thing, or some mix of it all, but you and I, we’ve got a lot in common. And we’ve arrived at the need to establish and understand (and change?) many of the same things. I appreciate your honesty, I appreciate your hard work, and I appreciate your insight. It’s nice knowing you’re in here. :upside_down_face::slightly_smiling_face:

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You got me in the feels, @Nickyghaleb. I’m rooting for us!! Much love!

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