Diabetes caretaker trauma is spoken of in the Type 1 Diabetes world. But for a while now, I’ve been asking myself the question: Are we talking about it enough? Am I talking about it enough?
The answer is NO.
What Diabetes Caretaker Trauma Looks Like
Recently, my son had a severe low blood sugar in the middle of the night. One of those scary ones where for the second time in my life I had to put on my big-girl pants and pull out the glucagon.
Glucagon is the hormone that your pancreas makes to keep your blood sugar from going too low – if you have a functioning pancreas. For people with Type 1 Diabetes, their pancreas cannot regulate glucagon secretion. So let’s just say, “It’s tricky”.
You Can Appear Calm While Experiencing Trauma
The whole severe low blood sugar incident got me thinking: am I now more experienced and wiser? Or was my overly calm response the result of some kind of trauma residue from all the frightening things I have had to manage, along with every other caretaker of child with Type 1 Diabetes? I’m not sure.
Emergency Glucagon Trauma
The first time I had to administer glucagon was by injection several years ago.
My son had vomited after an insulin injection. As he turned blue – yes, really blue – before my eyes, there was no time to consider the pros and cons of sticking him with what looked like a horse syringe and needle that comes in a bright orange plastic box.
I will never forget having to inject my son with this thing. It is one BIG needle. But that was the “easy” part.
This time, we had the inhalable glucagon. Supposed to be even “easier”, right? If you stop to think about the reality – the life-or-death aspect of the situation – that is the real fear factor.
If you’ve been traumatized by your child’s Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis, please listen to this episode of Dia-Logue: The Diapoint Podcast.
Join me for this very important episode of Dia-Logue: The Diapoint Podcast with Farah Dahabi, a Clinical Social Worker and Director at LightHouse Arabia who specializes in grief, trauma, and health psychology.
We unpack the trauma a parent goes through when their child is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Farah also shares strategies to help caretakers cope with the stress and anxiety of managing a chronic condition like Type 1 Diabetes in a child.
Listen at this link, or anywhere you get your podcasts.
Diabetes Caretaker Support Meetups
If you are in Dubai and would like to join a circle of the most amazing moms, please join us for our monthly face to face coffee morning.
We meet on the second Tuesday of most months. There is great coffee, but more importantly, this is a sacred space. Come as you are and meet other parents who have gotten their hands and hearts dirty as we raise children with diabetes. It’s the group no one wishes they were a part of, but how lucky we are to have met.
How To Offer Support to Moms and Diabetes Caretakers
Every single mom, parent and guardian I know who is on the Type 1 Caretaker journey is extraordinary. Here’s how to show some support for these incredible people.
For all the caretakers who have risen to this occasion that they did not wish for, nor were they prepared for, who tirelessly manage their child’s health as they keep them alive, advocate for their needs, and provide unwavering support through sleepless nights and a never-ending list of responsibilities and risks, in addition to all the other “regular” parental sacrifices, give them some support, a break, or something else they need.
For everyone who has the luxury of sometimes forgetting about the caretaker’s burden of care, give them a day off. Get up in the middle of the night and do “the thing”. They are tired.
Or if it’s a friend and you see her doing it all alone, give her a few hours of support so she can go for a walk, take a nap, or maybe just have a cup of tea alone.
She is not complaining, so it all looks okay from the outside. But chances are she has been traumatized on this journey.
Caretaker trauma is different than what a child with a health condition goes through. That is another incomprehensible trauma that no one should have to ever deal with.
Let’s Advocate For and Salute Those Who Are Quietly Supporting Their Children Through Type 1 Diabetes
I’ll be sharing more about diabetes caretaker trauma in the coming weeks, including what has worked for me to get me to a place of healthy balance and peace.
I’m also tapping into my network of experts to discuss this topic more, because it is certainly not discussed enough, and it’s about time we started.
Dealing with this kind of trauma and stress is important for our health and for our children’s health as well.
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