I am not a parent and I don’t have the intuitive to want a family. And if I’m being honest, my wife also doesn’t have that desire to have children. That being said, I am aware clear that we are in the minority and thats okay.
For many, starting a family is in their DNA. Family and children represent legacy, traditions being passed on and the continuation of their families.
For some, living with diabetes, the prospect of becoming pregnant, starting a family and raising children can be concerning, scary and even dangerous if not managed well; particularly if you’re a woman and expectant mother.
We wanted to understand more about what starting a family was like from a source that could not just help us understand the importance of the medical considerations, but someone who has lived the journey of motherhood with diabetes.
Brooke Gibson is an amazing, passionate mother of 5 and founder of T1Dsugarmommas.com
We had the pleasure of having on our podcast, Brooke Gibson. An amazing, passionate mother of five and founder of T1Dsugarmommas.com, a blog that is advocating on behalf of women with diabetes wanting to start a family. Her message is simple: Women can have a successful, healthy and happy family with diabetes. For the full interview, please listen to our podcast conversation with Brooke. Following are some key take aways from our conversation.
Her story and the filling the need for community
While not a medical professional herself, Brooke has fostered a community over the last 8 years through sharing fundamental advice for families with diabetes. All of her advice and blog are vetted through a medical advisory board so that not only is dependable advice, it also considers the latest research and medical support.
During our podcast, Brooke shared her story and why she started her website. “… when I was younger, I wasn’t sure I could ever have kids…” says Brooke, “… my doctors weren’t even sure that I could have kids…”
When she decided to start a family, finding the resources was challenge. “… connecting with others (for advice and support) was a challenge.”
The beginnings of T1DSugarmommas began when she met a woman through a site in the UK that was also starting a family with diabetes. That friendship, support and deep connection through diabetes led her to begin helping other women who were lookin for that same connections, support and kinship.
We asked Brooke about some core advice that she could share that has helped with her own journey.
Put yourself first
“The biggest challenge parenting with diabetes is remembering to put your care first… because you’re so busy being a mother…”
Whether you have diabetes or not, being a mother and a parent can be as hard as it is rewarding. Adding diabetes to the mix can cause worry, stress and even potential health issues if you don’t make your health a priority. “… it’s about what you’re doing for yourself to help the child growing inside you” Keeping diabetes management in forefront is also really important after you have your children because its natural to want to put your children first. “The biggest challenge parenting with diabetes is remembering to put your care first… because you’re so busy being a mother…”
Do what works for you
As a new mother, it’s safe to say that you have a full plate of responsibilities, competing priorities and plenty of distractions. I stated earlier, managing diabetes is incredibly challenging well parenting, especially with young children. It’s incredibly easy to forget to eat or check your blood sugar. Recent technology like continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), cell phones and apps can help with reminders and alerts, but regardless of the mechanics of the system you choose, its important that it works for you.
Communicate, communicate, then communicate some more
“You have to be open about your needs, to be healthy…” says Brooke.
One thing that diabetes can teach us is the value of communication. Great communication is not just limited to your family, it includes, your doctors, your friends, and even yourself; with all of them talking to each other. Blood sugar changes can do crazy things to our mind and body, from fatigue and cravings to emotional roller coasters; being able to communicate what you’re feeling effectively, what you need and being open to your support system is critical to success with motherhood. “You have to be open about your needs, to be healthy…” says, Brooke.
Give yourself a break
Pregnancy and stress can change your health. Diet changes may be needed, how and when you eat may change as well. Brooke recommends loosening your diabetes ranges. “… obviously consult your doctor, but remember; you just gave birth to a life and/or you have little ones… so being tight with your blood sugar ranges the way you were before your pregnancy or your family can be tricky.”
Navigating motherhood requires energy, space and flexibility. Taking time and care to plan through a community like T1Dsugarmommas can help you with questions that you may not even know what to ask until you need an answer.
Much of the advice Brooke shares is relevant to all of us, whether you’re planning a family, an expectant mother, or simply navigating the challenges of life. We hope you’ll listen to our podcast, and consider our other episodes with topics that advocate for and support the diabetes community.
Please enjoy the episode, and thank you Brooke for your passion, vision and advocacy!
You can follow Brooke at:
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