Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Baby Dance

Warning: serious post ahead!

Being an anonymous blogger has its benefits. But I still struggle with revealing my thoughts on some topics, and this recent news is one of them. I've always had a very conflicted, highly personal opinion about having children; Nicole has broached this subject before, and some others have too. Here's my say.

I've never been told I couldn't have kids, but no one ever pretended it was an easy thing for a PWD to do. My family never really talked about it when I was first diagnosed; I think the then-imperfect tools for diabetes care posed enough of a daily struggle for them, and having 'the talk' with your teenager is tough without diabetes (!). In my 20s, I had the typical challenges of any young person nowadays trying to build a stable adult life for myself. Diabetes has always been happy to take advantage of any spare energy--or finances--I may have had along the way, but it didn't really stop me. Had I made it more of a priority to settle down back then, a baby or two (and a father!) might well have come along. I don't know if the ticking clock would have been louder had I not had diabetes; I just know that, for me, it wasn't in the cards at the time.

Since I've been married, people have asked me when I'm going to start a family. And this is when it gets difficult for me to write about the subject (even among you, my wonderful OC friends). I like to keep private things private, as they say, especially with such an intensely personal topic. But where diabetes is concerned, I'd have to say my outlook on having a baby is like my attitude toward a cure: a nice thought, and perhaps a possibility, but not something I actively seek out or wish for every day. God has already been kind to me, sparing my eyes and hands, my feet and life, especially after some rebellious younger years when I probably did fewer tests in a month than I do in a three-hour period nowadays.

I also don't know how fair it would be to a child to have me for a mother, someone who might become ill and be a burden to them, a weight on the whole family, or worse, leave them too young. And then there's the frenetic worrying, which occupies me too much of the time already. I would never forgive myself if a child of mine had to deal with diabetes too. All of the nightmarish possibilities down that path quickly drain my enthusiasm whenever I hold my little niece's hand, or smell her baby-soft hair. In my heart I think: I just can't. Every extra sip of water, every moment of fatigue, every ounce of lost weight would send me into a tailspin. I don't know how some mothers do it--in my own family, some have gone through pregnancies with gestational diabetes without so much as a follow-up for mom or baby, or a worry about a future monster lurking for both of them.

But I haven't closed the door, so to speak. I seek out God when this subject comes up, in public or private, and I pray for guidance. Sometimes even a control freak PWD like me realizes every decision may not be mine alone. I also don't want to cast a downer on the parents of kids with type 1 out there, especially those of little girls. Things have changed so quickly in the world of D care, it's no surprise children nowadays can achieve the kinds of A1Cs some grown-ups would love to have {:-) Everyone's journey is unique. And the same goes for my fellow OC'ers, who may have different views. Your diabetes may vary, of course. I just wish sometimes that I were braver about making decisions with mine, especially the big L-I-F-E ones. I wish I had the imagination to see a world with children as a real possibility instead of an abstract thought.


Jillian said...

There is so much I want to say on this topic. I don't even know where to begin. I just hope that you are able to find peace with this.

George said...

You know what is right for you and I believe if it is supposed to happen, then it will. If not, then that is okay too.

I appreciate your honesty. People will say, "Don't worry about it," or "I did it so you can too" but no one knows you and where you are better then you.

~Suzanne~ said...

Wow, you completely hit the nail on the head for me. This is EXACTLY how I feel. To be honest, I am so ready...but I am NOT ready to deal with what trying to have a baby will bring. I'd rather just say "when it's time" than, well, than anything else...

(and thanks for your comments, too...I had already planned to not see my CDE again, but then she called. I am looking forward to posting about some happy CDE appointments very soon!!)

Minnesota Nice said...

I do so believe that people should go after what they want from life. To some, the risk is worth the reward. To me, it was not. (But of course, I was contemplating pregnancy 25 years ago when things were a lot different).
Yet when I see new babies coming into the lives of OC members I want to shout "good for you!" and my heart fills with joy.
I still survey my nephews every time I see them - why did they order a pitcher of soda when just a glass would do? Why is L going to the bathroom a second time during our meal (he was sneaking away to call his girlfriend). I even symptom-scan my niece until I remember that she is adopted.
I don't judge anyone for deciding either way. I do, however, think that if you choose to have kids that you should be prepared to set a good example of self-care.

Anonymous said...

I know exactly how you feel. I think about this topic a lot, especially since I got married 4 years ago. What makes me doubtful is that a lot of the T1 moms I hear about who had successful pregnancies have not had T1 as long as I have (almost 23 years), and didn't have T1 back when we thought checking your bg only twice a day and having an A1C of almost 9 was okay. What makes me even more confused is that I don't feel that any doctors are really straight with me about it. My endo and opthamologist say, "go for it, but be ready to work hard" and no one mentions the very real possibilities that you discussed-- that pregnancy could accelerate complications or perhaps take years off of your life, and would that be fair to your child? What a tangled mess it is.
Thank you for blogging about this. It is comforting to know that I'm not the only one who thinks these things.

Cara said...

I relate and understand completely. Part of me really wants to have children, but the other part of me just figures that I shouldn't. Not for myself so much as the children. Since I was adopted, that has always been an ative thought for me. But otherwise, I am not so sure.