My Diabetes Inklings

Embracing Working Mum Life

The transition back to work has been…interesting…to say the least. Especially when you throw in pregnancy into the mix. Currently I’m juggling getting my daughter (and I) settled into childcare, switching my teaching and research planning mode on, navigating changes in my workplace I’ve ignored for the past 12 months, diabetes and first trimester pregnancy (!!).

Childcare…at least Miss N seems to be settling well there. I feel awfully guilty for having to up root her to a different childcare when we move to be closer to family next month. We’ve lucked out with the current place where the educators have been so great with the lil munchkin and she’s starting to feel comfortable there too.

The only downside is that I seem to be catching every little bug that is floating around the childcare. All she’s got is a runny nose and I’ve somehow picked up gastro (or food poisoning), the sniffles, some other random virus (none of which were covid). Seems pretty unfair in my opinion.

All of this also leaves me being sick for the second half of my first trimester of pregnancy with baby number two (eep!). Not only do I feel like I’ve been continuously sick for the past month or so, I’ve battled morning sickness, extreme fatigue, a lack of appetite and ongoing hypos. At one point, we were coming home for a walk and I remember almost crying because I didn’t want to eat lollies anymore.

I’m grateful that I’ve got a great endo who’s been helping me with my diabetes management during pregnancy. There was no judgement when I said I simply didn’t have the brain space to do what I needed to do to fix my basal rates on my pump. Instead we worked on alternative solutions that I could manage until I’m able to come into the clinic to sit with the diabetes educator.

On top of that, I threw myself into the deep end at work by agreeing to lead a small internal research grant application. Imagine trying to prod a sodden, half melted brain into full capacity. That’s probably the best description for what that felt like. Thankfully, my teaching commitments were pretty light coming straight back from maternity leave and most of my teaching is in the first half of 2022, which means I still have a bit of time before I need to learn to navigate a slightly different learning management system and changes to my subjects.

Thankfully the Christmas and New Year break has come at the right time. Just as I was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed by everything, it’s nice to take a break and reassess how I’m approaching things. I’m nervous as to how I’ll handle the new year, especially with a move to a new suburb coming up. For now, I’ll try to enjoy the chaos and haze of a toddler during the festive season.

Not impressed with having to share the limelight
Blog

Maternity Leave

Next week, I start my transition back to full time work after having a luxurious 12 months of leave from my job as a I adjust to motherhood. I acknowledge that I am ridiculously lucky to be able to have this time off. To be fair I have also worked extremely hard for it and during this time too. For anyone who thinks that maternity leave is a holiday, they are exceptionally delusional. Although comparing to the world of academia, some days I would prefer dealing with the clingy child who refuses to sleep, is extremely cranky and throws food everywhere.

In the beginning, I was excited to be able to catch up on my blog writing during maternity leave. Certainly I was able to do that when Miss N slept a whole lot and I was just running on adrenaline. However, you’ve probably noticed that there hasn’t been any updates since June; a reflection of the craziness that accompanies a growing baby who is becoming more mobile.

The days filled up with the constant watching and cleaning up after Miss N. I was crazy enough to still be involved with a few projects, which meant I had meetings from time to time. My colleagues have certainly watched Miss N grow up over the year! I have certainly appreciated their patience with me and their graciousness at having Miss N be at each meeting. Although I’m sure it was pretty entertaining for them at times.

Online meetings have probably been one of the benefits of lockdown and everyone working from home. I didn’t have to completely step away from projects. Being an Early Career Researcher, I definitely felt the pressure of not trying to let this “gap year” impact my research outputs. I admit that I worked way more than I should have. The times that I should be resting or going to bed early or spending time with my husband after Miss N has gone to bed were spent trying to catch up on emails and work. I felt guilty, horrible and stupid for it some times but I also enjoyed being able to use my brain on more than just meal planning and activities to fill the day up. It was a time where I felt like myself.

Still, I know it’s stupid to expect that life will be as before I had Miss N now that she’s at childcare. I miss her so freaking much and I’m constantly updating the childcare app to see if there have been any updates or photos of how she’s doing. This is by far the longest I’ve been away from her. I know this is a good step for both of us, but there are so many emotions to navigate through and live with! At the end of the day, I am excited to be getting back into the swing of things and having some “me time” again.

First day feels
My Diabetes Inklings

Think Before You Ask

What are the chances my child will develop diabetes? That’s been a question that has come up a few times since I fell pregnant and have seen been asked about in the community. Of course it’s also a question I’ve mulled over many times. Recently, while I was being interviewed by a friend about living with diabetes as part of her Masters thesis, we discussed this at length. We ended up having a pretty deep chat about it especially as she lives with diabetes herself.

Statistically speaking, the answer to that question is readily available on the web. You can read about them here. But I think often people who ask don’t just want to know the science. Some might want to know if we have considered this chance of passing on diabetes to our children and the ethics of doing so. I have seen comments online and heard of people who say people with diabetes are selfish for having children, knowing that they could pass the condition on; like diabetes is the worst thing in the world they could have (I would argue being rude would be far worse but anyway…).

How would I tackle the question? It would probably depend on who was asking it and the tone they had approached this. I am all for having an honest discussion about this topic. However, if the question was asked in a way to set me up for a big guilt trip, then I would have no interest in entertaining them.

Having children is such a personal and huge decision and responsibility. It’s one I don’t take lightly and have debated with myself internally for years. I remember someone once said to me I was still too selfish to have a child. I wanted to travel, and splurge money on delicious foods and tech gadgets. Now I realise that it can also be considered quite selfish to have a child. AND I don’t necessarily have to give up all the things I want to pursue and indulge in.

What if my child does develop diabetes? The more I think about it, the more I realise that it doesn’t really matter. Yes my heart will ache for them. But if diabetes is the worst thing to happen to my kid in their life, then they’re doing pretty well. Being diagnosed with medical conditions, whether they are chronic or short term, is a part of life. You can never guarantee someone a perfect life without any adversities. How boring would that be?

I know that whatever happens, we will support our kid however way we can. If my child does develop diabetes, I’d almost be relieved, as I know what we will be dealing with and our kid will be surrounded by some amazing role models to learn from. If anything living with diabetes has taught me so many valuable life lessons that perhaps they will come to learn and apply to other situations too.

Overall, I think it’s important that people understand that being diagnosed with diabetes does not diminish a person’s worth or a parent’s love for them. So next time you want to ask a person what the risk of them passing on <insert health condition> to their child is, I would implore you to give serious thoughts before you do. Think about what you’re actually trying to ask and how it may impact them.

For her, seeing an insulin pump is normal…