I can’t escape gestational diabetes at the moment. Testing my blood and monitoring what I eat is always on my mind. No matter what time of day, I’m thinking about it. I think about whether I eat something that I’m not sure will put me over, if I haven’t had a good night’s sleep that my readings will be over, if I’ve done enough exercise for the day.
I’m lucky that it’s diet controlled at the moment, but also frustrating not knowing if I’m going to have a bad reading for no apparent reason. It’s also frustrating having to time everything, thinking about what I’m eating and what I’m going to be doing in 2 hours time and remembering to carry my kit around with me. The timing usually works pretty well with my breaks at work, but on occasion I get held up and can’t get away, which then delays my readings and leads to inaccurate readings.
I still feel very bitter about having gestational diabetes with absolutely no risk factors. Everyone new I see (midwives, endocrinologists, dieticians, diabetes educators, doctors, GPs, general people) look me up and down (probably wondering why I’m not horribly obese) and then proceed to ask me if there’s any family history, and when I say absolutely not, they have that surprised look on their faces as if they’re not sure of what to say next. I’m also met with surprise when I’m at dinner or morning tea and I tell people I can’t eat this particular thing. They just think I’m being paranoid, that I’m being a health nut and worried about my pregnancy weight, and that one little tiny piece of cake isn’t going to hurt. The problem is I know that delicious cake, as much as I would love to eat it, will put my readings over. I’m not any of those things people think I am and I don’t like being boxed in like that. I would love to eat cake and chocolate and white bread and creamy pasta and udon noodles, but with some trial and error, I know my body won’t respond well and that I’m putting my little one at risk.
There’s a lot of judgment and misunderstanding around diabetes. Everyone expects you to fit into this cookie cutter idea of what they believe diabetes to be and are surprised when you don’t meet their expectations. I am also guilty of this. I had no idea about it before being diagnosed and I had so many misunderstandings of what it actually is because it just never concerned me.
I’ve come to accept that it’s nothing I’ve done wrong, nothing I’ve done to cause this. Gestational diabetes isn’t a ‘lifestyle disease’ and wasn’t caused by me eating a bit of chocolate during early pregnancy or being inactive. It’s just something that sometimes happens. However, I have quite tired of having to explain that to people, when they’re judging me, when they say that I shouldn’t have eaten this or that or that I should have done this or that. I’m also tired of having to explain and justify what I’m eating or not eating. What I put in my mouth is my business, but apparently when you’re pregnant, everything is up for discussion and unsolicited advice, particularly from people who have no idea what they’re talking about.
Some days it really gets me down, especially when I get a high reading and haven’t eaten anything out of the norm. Other days I’m okay with it, that it’s just another part of life, and am hopeful that it’ll just all disappear after giving birth.