Rewind three years ago. It was mid-March, and I was in the hospital. I could see the doctor’s mouth moving explaining undeniably important information to me about my diagnosis and how my life would be turned upside down. However, instead of listening intently, I was off in my own world thinking about all the new what-ifs in life.
One of the biggest what-ifs I had was whether or not children would ever be in my future and if I would pass down this horrible disease to them. My mind was made up at that point. I wouldn’t have children if passing down this horrific disease was a possibility. How could I live with myself knowing I might cause harm to such an innocent baby before he/she was even born? I could never be that selfish no matter how much I wanted to be a mom. These thoughts were the ones that haunted me.
So, when Aaron and I started discussing our future plans and if it would include children, I started to do some extensive research on the matter before we got too far. Here is what I found out according to the Joslin Diabetes Center website (http://www.joslin.org/info/genetics_and_diabetes.html).
If an immediate relative (parent, brother, sister, son or daughter) has type 1 diabetes, one’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes is 10 to 20 times the risk of the general population; your risk can go from 1 in 100 to roughly 1 in 10 or possibly higher, depending on which family member has the diabetes and when they developed it.
The risk for a child of a parent with type 1 diabetes is lower if it is the mother — rather than the father — who has diabetes. “If the father has it, the risk is about 1 in 10 (10 percent) that his child will develop type 1 diabetes — the same as the risk to a sibling of an affected child,” Dr. Warram says. On the other hand, if the mother has type 1 diabetes and is age 25 or younger when the child is born, the risk is reduced to 1 in 25 (4 percent) and if the mother is over age 25, the risk drops to 1 in 100 — virtually the same as the average American.
If one of the parents developed type 1 diabetes before age 11, their child’s risk of developing type 1 diabetes is somewhat higher than these figures and lower if the parent was diagnosed after their 11th birthday.
Breaking this down into how it is relatable to me means the following: I am the one with Type 1 Diabetes (the mother), I was diagnosed when I was 23 years old (after my 11th birthday), and I am 26 years old right now and pregnant (so I am older than 25 dropping the risk to 1 in 100).
Keeping these figures in mind and knowing we have the best possible outcome given our situation, well you can guess what Aaron and I decided to do. I am now almost 28 weeks pregnant having a little girl.
Of course this doesn’t mean all my worries have been swept away. I personally do not function that way. I will always keep a watchful eye out for the tall tale signs and keep ketone strips in her diaper bag. But, will it be something I tell her I’m worried about? Absolutely not. I guess that’s just part of being a mother.