Managing Self-Care When Your Child Has A Dual Diagnosis

self-care.jpegSo last night was Michael’s third night in a row of low blood sugar. That meant that we had to delay his bedtime injection until after his blood sugar had reached a safe level. God bless Michael. He gets excited with low blood sugar. Why? He gets to eat more food and stay up later! This is just an example of how Michael is adjusting to diabetes. There have been stressful moments for him for sure. He is worried about the holidays and if he can eat as much as he wants. We are breaking it to him that it is not a good idea to over eat. But on the other hand, he is doing so well clarifying to friends what diabetes is. For instance, there was one friend who worried that the teachers were hurting him at school when they take his blood glucose and other who thought he had food allergies. Michael calmly explained that he takes insulin through a needle as his body does not produce it anymore. Oh, went the friends. And although we have had to take him off equipment preparation duty at times as he was being silly, he is getting comfortable with setting up the proper insulin, the needles and the other equipment on other days. It has been wonderful to see. But for me, navigating diabetes with autism in the last two months can be summed up in one word-exhausting.

After last night’s low sugar and bedtime tuck in, I did not even have energy to write the post I am writing now. And, I think why I still have a bad sinus cold that has probably turned into an infection now, is due to said exhaustion. Self-care is so important, yet as parents who love our kids we constantly put our needs at the bottom of the list. I’ve had several people tell me to take care of myself and rest. I know  it. Tonight is the night I will do it. I am slowly finding out what my priorities are, and how to try and balance both Michael’s conditions while not taking away from who Michael is. Michael is a social, excitable happy little boy who loves life, people, food and navigating. I can’t see him and equate every thing he does with “autism behavior”  “diabetes related.” But lately it has been hard not to. Add to the fact that we have introduced anti-anxiety medication, and I’m constantly second guessing, does that cause that? Is it the chicken or the egg? Then last night I gently told myself “enough.” Let it go. Take care of you. Forget about autism and diabetes and see your child. After a rough start to the evening, Michael turned it around and we ended it with a nice conversation about how to calm down, regulate ourselves and when tucking Michael in he gave me a big hug telling me how much he loves me. I said the same.

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His night fears are getting better too, and I am so happy he is applying all he has learned from various professionals and what his Dad and I have taught him about his own power in controlling his emotions. I have also been talking to him about doing fun things that he enjoys to be happy. Teaching your child about self-care so they know their limits, is as important as practicing  it yourself. I know for me a visit to the Hamamm is coming soon, a nature walk one morning,  going back regularly to my fiction writing, and I need to get back to my girls nights out when my health is fully back. I have felt that only in the last week my feet are finally touching earth and I am adjusting to juggling it all: work, two diagnoses, and slowly, very slowly, bringing in self-care. I realize that I forget that self-care belongs at the top of the list so everything else can fall into place more smoothly.

Exceptional Parents, how do  you respond when something unexpected happens to you or your child? Do you hunker down with tunnel vision to the neglect of everything else or do you balance it out with the rest of your life? I believe there are some organized few in the latter category, but let’s face it, most of us ladies are in the former category. We are caregivers by nature, so it becomes natural to hunker down and live life tending to our child’s new health conditions. We forget to care for ourselves, and long term that leaves our children and us open to more hardship. If you are struggling with coming to terms with something right now Moms, take it easy on yourself. Give yourself some time away from care giving. Remember to eat, sleep and have some personal time just for you doing  what you enjoy. This will make you stronger for everyone around you, and remind you what an amazing child and life you have in the end. Until next time.

I am a writer, speaker and parent coach whose son with Autism and Type 1 Diabetes has shown me a whole new way to see the world and embrace the joy of  living in the moment! I believe in empowering parents to trust their own instincts when it comes to their children, and in helping them parent with love, respect and confidence on their own exceptional parenting journey.

For more information on my coaching services,  for a FREE 30 min consultation, and to receive a  copy of my FREE E-BOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY,” see my website: www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com. 

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