Life with a new baby is wonderful! In my opinion, it is also stressful, tiring and emotionally overwhelming. Women with diabetes need to take as much care of themselves as their babies.
In my experience, I wanted to be with my baby every minute. During these weeks, my body was still trying to find regular hormone levels. My blood sugars would fluctuate and the strain kept me sleep-deprived and overly worried.
I’m a worrier. That’s what I do. It started before diagnosis, but the constant challenge of living with diabetes certainly reinforced my practices.
When it came to my baby, I was even more of a worrier. During nursing, when those usually calming hormones surfaced, they seemed to make my blood sugars swing out of control.
I know many diabetic women that conquer this with a good supply of water and snacks at their nursing station. I had many challenges with this and the questions of whether it would hurt my baby if I stopped, never ceased. The pressures that I faced from suggestions by well meaning friends only added to the hurt and feelings of inadequacy.
I was told to think of life with my baby much like the recommendations for airplane air masks. First take care of yourself if you want to take care of your child.
I struggled with every moment that I put my air mask on first. I was glad I did. Her extra minutes of crying, while I treated low blood sugar without her in my arms was a safer choice for me.
I tried other healthy practices that had been recommended to me by family and friends. I tried to eat when she ate and sleep when she slept. I can’t remember if I accomplished these.
This was my only baby. I imagine if it was my third, then my experience would be somewhat different. I managed to get through the trials of new motherhood. Although managing my diabetes was difficult during the early months, my baby and I were bonded, happy, and we made it through.
As she grew, she began to understand my life with diabetes. I didn’t hide it. I used words appropriate for her age to help her understand.
This was an effective strategy for her to accept my life with diabetes and understand my needs.