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October 23, 2014
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The Great Children Debate


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EP
I'm often told what a wonderful mother I would make.
I'm often asked if Bob and I plan to have kids of our own.
My answer is usually something along the lines of "Who knows? Maybe someday we'll decide to adopt or foster children, but it's not likely I'll be giving birth anytime in the future."
This is around the time in the conversation that I get "the look." Sometimes, the person will express out loud what "the look" says so clearly. "It's the diabetes, isn't it?"
If I'm up to it, I'll explain, that no, it's not the diabetes. I'll talk about how women with diabetes have healthy babies all the time. I'll tell the stories of the many women I know who live with diabetes and have had children and are wonderful mothers.
Other times, I don't give any sort of answer, I just give my own "look," hoping the person will drop the subject.
These moments are frustrating because they make me realize that for people who know I have diabetes, separating me from my disease seems to be a difficult task. If I'm cranky - my bloodsugar must be off. If I need a new eye glass prescription - the diabetes might be effecting my eyes. If I decide against having children - my diabetes must be at fault. The truth is - sometimes I'm cranky because I've had a cruddy day, and my eyesight has been poor since before my diagnosis, and I, unlike many of my peers, have never once heard my biological clock tick-tick-ticking.
Recently, though, I've done some thinking that stemmed from a question I'd never been asked before.
The conversation started the same, "Are you and Bob going to have kids?" My answer was the same "Who knows? Maybe someday we'll decide to adopt or foster children, but it's not likely I'll be giving birth anytime in the future."
The follow up question was where the conversation took a new turn. "Are you afraid of passing your diabetes on?"
"I'm not sure," I responded, "But I don't think that's got anything to do with my not wanting to have kids."
Although I felt the usual frustration at the person's inability to separate my person and my decisions from my disease, the question really got me thinking. I know that I worry about my nieces or nephews getting diabetes. I know that the prospect of any child facing life with diabetes scares me. And I know myself well enough to know that if a child in my family was diagnosed, I'd feel a certain level of guilt. But if my maternal longings were stronger, if my desire to have a child was ever-present, I doubt I'd let the fear of a disease I know so well get in my way.
This whole thing, though, got me thinking. And I've got some questions for all of you.
Do you find that people often relate your moods, normal physical ailments, or decisions automatically to your diabetes? How do you address it when they do?
Diabetic parents - did you ever/do you fear that your children will get diabetes? How big a factor was the chance they could be diagnosed when you were considering having children?
People with diabetes considering parenthood - what are you fears? How do you think you diabetes as it relates to pregnancy and parenthood?

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Megan Holmes
Megan Holmes Megan was diagnosed in 2009 with Type I. As an RN, she was familiar with the medical side of her diagnosis; learning to be a good patient on the other hand, was and continues to be the challenge of her day to day life.   (Read More)
Michelle Kowalski
Michelle Kowalski Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes.   (Read More)
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