Today is the first day of diabetes awareness month, centering around November 14th, World Diabetes Day. As the days of the month turn over like pages of a book, social media fills up with information, opinion, blog posts, product launches and events. For me, November has always been about educating, advocating, empowering and de-stigmatising a condition that affects millions around the world. This year, it represents that little bit more because today, November 1st, 2015, my little girl turns one week old.
November this year represents both a new chapter in my life entitled 'motherhood', and a new chapter in my diabetes life of being a mother, with diabetes. As I learn about the fun and foibles of being a mother - of breast-feeding and explosive nappies, of pram construction and bedtime routines (or total lack of them, if my little one week old is anything to go by) - I also now have to do so alongside learning how to manage my diabetes with this new beautiful person in my life - one who needs me to be on my game around the clock. Learning how to prioritise when a hungry baby demands a feed after I've bolused for my dinner, or how to manage the blood sugar drops of breast-feeding or of remembering to check my blood sugars when my CGM alarms rather than treat the hypo it says I'm having because I'm just too tired from a bad night's sleep. How will I treat a hypo when baby needs a feed? And how will I keep my HbA1c from drifting as my focus is pulled in a direction other than my diabetes? Time only will tell.
This year November and beyond is about learning how to do diabetes all over again. It is about resilience and re-educating. It is about finding balance, and about using the technology I have at my disposal to make diabetes a big enough priority in my life that the control and quality of life I enjoy so much aren't sacrificed, without leaving my child thinking diabetes is number one. It isn't. But in many ways diabetes was easier to manage during pregnancy because it was all I had to do. If my levels were wacky, a short walk could bring them down swiftly, and appointments were no issue to attend because it was just me to worry about. Now, there is another person - one who cannot reason or wait - whom I need to think about first.
Pregnancy was without a doubt the most challenging period in the time I've had diabetes, made up of equal parts determination, joy, frustration and fear. But the end result of careful planning, resilience and keeping my eye on the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow was a healthy baby girl, all 7 pounds 11 ounce of her. Only this pot of gold isn't the stuff of myth, she is very much here.
Happy Diabetes Awareness month people. Let's make this a good one!