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How It Might Look.

Birdy tore by on a scooter and another little kid followed closely with a plastic shopping cart crammed with toy food.

“We’re superheroes!!!”  she yelled, out of breath as she zipped by.

“I can tell!” I answered, looking up from my papers.

I am the mom at playgroups who spends some of the time staring at an open Word document on my laptop, tapping away on the keys until the letters Centipede themselves around the screen and eventually come to form coherent thoughts.  I’m the mom who gets on the trampoline with her kid (and immediately wishes that she didn’t, mostly because I spend the whole time panicking about one of us falling off the edge).  And I’m the mom who occasionally fumbles through her purse and pulls out a piece of technology and stares at the graph on the screen, or grabs another piece of tech and bleeds with precision on it, or ferrets out a blue jar and eats several of those … giant smarties?

I am a mom with type 1 diabetes.

I sometimes wonder how it might look, through the eyes of the other parents and caregivers.  Do they think it’s gross that I deal with blood at playgroup?  Do they notice that I use hand wipes and carefully wipe down anything I’ve touched after testing my blood sugar, not because I’ve bled on everything but more because I want to demonstrate my respect for anyone’s potential concerns?  Do they think I’m a sugar-addict, sometimes popping glucose tabs into my mouth and simultaneously wiping beads of hypoglycemia sweat off my forehead?  Do they notice that my outfits always have a small pump bulge and usually some trailing tubing?  Do they think it’s unfashionable to have glucose tab dust smeared on the front of my shirt?

Diabetes parenting ... and a tutu.  Who doesn't love a good tutu?

Old school Bird

What’s most likely is that they don’t notice at all.  What feels like a big deal to me at times seems like an unremarkable blip on their overall parenting radar.  They probably see another parent, just doing their parenting thing, and are unaware of the small, tangible differences.  (I bet they’d notice if I didn’t shower, though.  That’s a hard one to miss.)

“Mom, come make pretend pudding with me!  In this little, toy kitchen with these real other kids!”

“Pretend pudding?  How can I resist?”

I am a mom with diabetes, not a-bunch-of-diabetes with a side of motherhood.  The proof is in the (pretend) pudding.


13 Comments Post a comment
  1. You’re probably right about them not noticing at all. Even if they did notice – and were grossed out by the blood – so what? Why does there opinion matter?

    I believe that we need to start being more open about testing, giving shots (if on MDI), etc. in public. These things need to be seen as being “normal’, and not as something strange. In order to do so, however, we need to overcome our fear of judgement. At the very least, we need to reach a point where we are no longer enslaved to our fear.

    01/28/14; 11:30 am
    • Thankfully, I’m not scared. And I do my maintenance in public, regardless of what people think. But sometimes I wonder if they notice. 🙂

      01/28/14; 11:34 am
  2. You are a great mom with diabetes. And I give you and all the other moms with diabetes huge kudos! There have been a few times when my nieces and nephews were in my care, dealing with a low blood sugar, and I thought to myself I don’t know how they do this all the time!

    01/28/14; 11:54 am
  3. I used to worry about this stuff all the time. I feel kinda stupid about that now.

    You’re the second person I’ve seen who’s said that people probably don’t notice at all (thanks, Scott E.). Maybe it’s really true that if we don’t make a big deal of it, no one else will either.

    01/28/14; 2:13 pm
  4. Pretend pudding is the full-carb, delicious version, right? Now I want pudding.

    And my assumption, if they notice at all, is that they’re grateful that it’s your blood you’re dealing with, and not with a bleeding child 🙂

    01/28/14; 3:54 pm
  5. I’d like to reserve my pretend pudding right now. That would make a great finish to my dinner tonight. I think you’re right in regard to testing our blood, I really doubt that anyone watches or cares. I use MDI, so I’m also filling a syringe and giving myself shots in public. I don’t make a big production out of it but I no longer go to restaurant bathrooms to take my insulin. Haven’t been kicked out of a restaurant yet.
    My daughter was in middle school when I got my first glucose monitor, so I wasn’t as obviously supervising her “play groups”. My grandchildren are so used to seeing me test and take my insulin it’s a non-event. Don’t worry, if at any point in the future what you do to take care of yourself offends someone, they’ll let you know.

    01/28/14; 7:08 pm
  6. Sandy T #

    I was chatting with coworkers last week and mentioned I needed to go check my blood sugar. And they stared at me like I was crazy. They didn’t realize I am a type 1. Mind you I eat with these people often, and I always check my blood sugar, give myself insulin (via a pump) and when I bring in food I mention the carbs in each item. I have had learning sessions with the supervisors in the group but never the coworkers.
    I figured everyone in the group knew I was diabetic, but evidently not. I guess I’m not as obvious as I think? ??

    01/28/14; 7:49 pm
  7. Melinda #

    I respect your need for openness or privacy. I really wish I’d seen more people managing their diabetes care in my years before my daughter was diagnosed. I think that would have been comforting to think about when we were getting used to it. Just making it a bit less cryptic.

    01/28/14; 8:19 pm
  8. Nichole Robson #

    Love the idea of what it might look like but also totally agree that most people don’t even notice! But isn’t funny if you know about Diabetes you see pumps , tubing and those testing!

    01/29/14; 12:09 am
  9. Kimberley D. #

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now since I was diagnosed with type 1 last January (sorry it took me so long to de-lurk). Your blog is one of the main reasons I have always taken my shots and tested in public and not worried too much whether or not someone is looking. And if they are, oh well; I shouldn’t have to scurry into a dirty public restroom to take a life-saving measure. Thank you for giving me the courage to not be ashamed of this annoying disease.

    01/29/14; 8:21 am
  10. I get offended when people *don’t* notice me checking my blood, because it’s a pretty cool process. I figure they’re busy playing Candy Crush anyway. I’d notice that you were the mom engaging with her kid during a play date more than anything else.

    01/29/14; 12:04 pm
  11. I think they notice, and they think “What a bitch, checking her email [actually Dexcom] instead of admiring her child or talking to me about slow cookers!” <—This is my fear. For me. I'm sure they think you are not a bitch.

    01/30/14; 12:17 am
    • Thank god they don’t ask me about slow cookers. Technically, that’s what I am, only I don’t think that’s what they mean.

      01/30/14; 8:52 am

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