When a fellow type one DMed me on Instagram the other night about becoming newly pregnant and the struggles she was facing, I instantly tried to console her, reassure her that she could do this, and give her advice for when I had been in her shoes not too long ago just finding out I was pregnant. You see, when you find out you’re pregnant as a type one mama, the worries and fears begin taking over your brain like a wildfire.
Will I be able to do this?
Will I harm my baby?
Will I have a miscarriage because of my diabetes?
Will I ever get to actually hold this baby in my arms?
How am I going to watch my blood sugars, do all of the calculations I need to do every minute of the day, 24/7 for the next 9 months while still being a student, working a full time job, or just living my life?
How is this all possible?
If I’m being completely honest, the worries, anxiety, and fears never go away. Granted, I have days now where I feel like I’m getting the hang of this all and almost forget what a tough job this is to grow a human inside of me all while making sure I take exactly the right amount of insulin to not kill myself and this baby. Scary, but true. The difference between 1 unit of insulin and 2 units of insulin are enough to kill me in the wrong scenario. It’s scary. This is a life threatening disease that we make life threatening decisions about ON THE DAILY. And then we decide we have enough courage and hopefully, strength to grow a baby and start a family and well you can see where the anxiety comes in. But this isn’t about the fears we live with and it’s not about the anxiety that constantly takes up space in our brains. This is about how we manage to make it through this sometimes treacherous journey and land ourselves at the finish line with the creation of another human life. Another freaking life, people. I’m going to tell you how I’ve managed to get this far with the birth of my child only 3ish (omg, crazy) weeks away:
In my entire life I’ve never practiced patience so hard as I do now. Patience in this pregnancy has saved my life more than once, and has also made me realize the value in just practicing patience on a regular basis. Now, this is certainly no easy feat. Patience to me and to many people I know has got to be one of the most difficult things to not only learn, but to practice. We all know what patience is. We learn it in kindergarten when we must be patient and wait for that toy we’ve been wanting to play with. But patience is not always something that sticks with us for the rest of our lives. Patience is like a muscle you must continuously work out or else you fall weak to impatience, which can literally be toxic. Especially as a type one diabetic carrying a child. We must learn to practice patience after we see a blood sugar spike a bit higher than we want it to and we want to just crank up more insulin. But then can come the low blood sugars from what us diabetics call “rage blousing.” We all do it, I still do it, and we all know how dangerous it can be. We must learn to practice patience when we have a low blood sugar of 53 but can only eat 3-4 starbursts to bring it back up instead of the entire contents of our kitchen because it honestly feels like you might die if you don’t. But patience reminds us that the sugar we just consumed will bring it back up, just give it some time. Patience is friggen hard. It drives you crazy, frustrates you, and makes you want to rip out your hair at times. But patience is a l i f e s a v e r. If you can learn to workout this muscle of patience and know when it is necessary to practice patience versus when it is necessary to take action, you will save yourself from an abundance of stressful situations. Though these scenarios are very specific to type one diabetics, I’m not just speaking to type one diabetics either. We all could learn how to be more patient, myself included. I still fail at being patient many many times, but I’m learning how to recognize this and give myself….
I read a quote tonight that said
“In all of the change, grace remains” – Morgan Harper Nichols.
This lead to me thinking about grace and wondering what it really means. I mean, we all have heard of grace and know what it means but how do you really explain grace. I’m talking about having grace, and giving grace – how does one define such a loaded phrase? I know there is a religious aspect to the word grace and in my research on the word this evening I came across something I found compelling from a blog written by a pastor’s wife. Though I was raised catholic, I’m not a particularly religious person but I found truth in what I read. She was talking about how many use grace in the sense of basically saying it’s a free pass but in reality that’s not what it is at all. She said that grace changes us, not excuses us. This was what I felt struck a cord with me especially with what I have learned through this experience of pregnancy as a T1D. I’m learning to give myself grace when my patience falls short. But what does that mean? Saying this aloud was hard for me to even describe what I meant by this, but this woman put it so well for me and the quote I shared in the beginning just built off of that. I’m not excusing myself for being impatient at times and therefor rage blousing or over-treating a low blood sugar – I am aware of the dangers just like anyone else. But, I’m giving myself grace to learn how to better myself in the future because this is a damn hard job and there’s no way I can constantly succeed at it. Throughout all of the change in my life and quite literally my body, grace does still remain a constant that assists us in making productive swaps or tweaks rather than sweeping things under the rug and making up excuses. This is not to say I will never make the same mistakes again, I’m not perfect just like everyone else. But rather, I will attempt to take each situation in my life and, where grace is warranted, learn how to move on from these situations. Again, not coming up with excuses for my wrongdoings or mistakes, but rather determining what changes I can and probably should make. No one is perfect and we can’t expect to get it right every time or that having grace will lead us to some miraculous answer for the future, but we can try to remember that grace remains no matter what.
I hope this helps any fellow type one mamas or mamas to be out there or unlike myself were filled with anxiety when the thought of having a baby arose. I promise you mama, with a little patience & grace, you can make it through this and practically anything else in life.