faded egg polariod

Photo by e m m a j a y. (I recently shared another of her photos here.)

Yesterday I found out that I most likely have gestational diabetes. (I have to go back to confirm next week, but my numbers were high enough that my midwife said she’d be very surprised if next week’s test comes back negative.) The quick summary of gestational diabetes is that it increases the risk of an especially large baby growing inside of you, and this can lead to a number of birth complications. Pregnancy makes women more prone to developing diabetes, and the diabetes usually goes away once the baby is born. However, people who develop gestational diabetes are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. This certainly isn’t good news, but nor is it the most dire of diagnoses. I will consider myself lucky if this is the biggest complication I face in pregnancy. I was surprised by how upset it made me, though. P left work early yesterday to come home and comfort a sobbing, sulking, couch-ridden me. The probable diagnosis brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings for me.

First are my feelings about diabetes in general, which require a bit of context… It seems that there is one group of people that it is still “ok” to discriminate against – fat people. People I know and love openly disparage this group of people and no others. This has always bothered me, perhaps because I struggled with my weight and overeating in the past. I’d like to think that it would bother me either way. Some people’s relationships with food are simply more challenging that most of us can imagine. While stereotypes about obese people bother me, these stereotypes certainly have a place in my head. Diabetes (excluding type 1) is something I associate with fat people, and, when I think of late onset diabetes, the words laziness, irresponsibility, and gross come to mind. I think of it as a disease that is the result of sloth, a disease that affects people that I look down on. And now I probably have it, albeit in a transient form. The diagnosis brings up feelings of fault and shame for me. I am trying to overcome the feelings of shame by sharing like I am right now. The feelings of fault are more complex. If two pregnant women eat the same diet, one may develop gestational diabetes and one may not. But diet is definitely a factor. And my diet is my responsibility.

This brings me to another set of feelings that I’ve been mulling over – responsibility and parenting. For some people, part of the allure of becoming a parent is the opportunity to help mold a new person. This is not appealing to me. What draws me to being a parent is the idea of creating and embodying an atmosphere of love, compassion, and safety that will enable little peppadew (and me and P and the dogs, for that matter) to become the best being that he or she is inside. The key to good parenting is probably somewhere in between – shaping peppadews within loving environments. The first part – proactively working to help my peppadew develop – will be the harder part for me. I’m already noticing this during pregnancy. I haven’t been a particularly cautions or deliberate pregnant woman. It has seemed to me that births just happen, just like people just become themselves. Part of me has even felt that an especially cautious and deliberate pregnancy, full of reading, classes, and self-care, might be a less beautiful pregnancy for me, less in touch with intuition and deeper meaning. But now I’m being reminded that my actions can have a direct affect on how the peppadew turns out. Piles of cake for me can hurt peppadew. It is scary, humbling, and disappointing to realize that your parenting philosophy needs work.

Having slept on the news and now having gotten these thoughts off my chest, I’m feeling a lot better and am genuinely looking forward to this opportunity to improve my diet. I’m lucky to have a supportive partner like P and an awesome mom who lives nearby (who, at this very moment is cooking up some diabetic-friendly food to bring over).

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