Expanding the Family
I love being a mom, but don't plan on having more children.
April 2012 — When my daughter was born, certain things in the world fell in place (except for that pesky uterus, which was being reconstructed, thank you very much, cesarean section). I had always wanted to have a baby, and I always wanted to be a mom. Seeing that positive pregnancy result on the pregnancy test was the first of many amazing moments in my journey towards motherhood, followed closely by first kicks and first ultrasounds and...well, everything else.
Now she's here, and with her arrival came a strange feeling of closure. I was her mom, my husband and I made that crazy transition to parenthood, and we both felt like our family was complete. At first, our families chalked our "one-and-done" mentality to new parenthood, but now, as my daughter's second birthday fast approaches, we still sing the same tune.
"We don't plan on having any more children. Birdy will be an only child, I think."
"Oh, you don't know that. You will probably have at least one more."
"No, I don't think so."
And the well-meaning person always pats me on the shoulder. "No, you will."
Okay, so here's the thing — my pregnancy wasn't chaotic. It wasn't a huge crisis and there won't be movies made about the trials and tribulation of my diabetic pregnancy. A "steel magnolia," I am not. (More of a scatterbrained dandelion, I think.) However, my pregnancy was one that involved a history of decades with type 1 diabetes, pre-existing fertility issues, and ended with a nasty bit of preeclampsia. Like I said, it wasn't total chaos, but it wasn't a nice, smooth ride.
And I don't think I am willing to do it again.
Every person with diabetes is different. Just as some people are able to manage their diabetes without too much heartache, there are others who struggle to achieve and maintain. Diabetes management varies so widely that it makes the diabetes community a quilt of diversity, with each patch stitched uniquely. My decisions are mine, and based on a multitude of influences. If you want to go have a dozen babies, bless your heart.
So there's the caveat.
Because for me, my pregnancy was emotional pandemonium. Every single time I tested my blood sugar, the result on my meter made me panic. I couldn't handle the fact that my diabetes wasn't exclusively "mine" anymore, and that my health directly affected the well-being of my baby. I felt guilty and nervous for the entire duration of my pregnancy, and the moment my daughter left my body and took her first breath was such a release for me because I felt like she was finally "safe."
Diabetes isn't the only reason for our decision to have an only child, but it does play a significant role. My job, as Birdy's mother, is to remain emotionally healthy and physically strong enough to be a good parent. Part of that job includes making executive decisions about expanding our family.
The ends justify the means; my own, personal pregnancy with diabetes was a struggle for me, but being a mother is exactly what I was meant to do. The moment my daughter was born, my life became complete in a way that words can't touch. But I do think it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me.
"Oh come on...how can you be so sure?"
I look at my daughter, smiling back at me. And I think about my diabetes and my overall health and am grateful for the fact that I've sustained a quarter-century with type 1 diabetes, and a pregnancy, and am still healthy. For me, this decision is right. This is what's best for me and my family.
"I just know."
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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