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D-Family Dynamics

When diabetes touches your life, you may become all too aware of the challenges that are part of everyday life. If diabetes touches your life because your child is living with it, the experience can be overwhelming. Three bloggers-turned-authors – each the parent of a child with type 1 diabetes – have written powerful books that offer personal encounters, wisdom, and tips for navigating family life with a child living with diabetes.

Kids First, Diabetes Second: Tips for Parenting a Child with Type 1 Diabetes

By Leighann Calentine (August 2012)

What started as a “mommy blog” when Calentine was pregnant with her second child morphed into D-Mom.com when her daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and that, in turn, led to the recent publication of this book. Calentine hopes the book will serve as a guide for parents of a newly diagnosed child and offers advice on practical matters like the ins and outs of play dates and establishing medical support at school, as well as on the emotional roller coaster ride parents may experience when their child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. As Calentine notes, “Diabetes doesn’t play fair: it will throw you a curveball just when you think you have it under control, but you can learn to live – and live well – with this ‘new normal.’“

Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad 

By Scott Benner (April 2013)

When Scott Benner’s daughter Arden was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, family members expressed concern, but none fully understood the seriousness of her condition, or what Benner and his wife were facing on a daily basis as caregivers. Frustrated with the lack of support, Benner created an extended family-only web page, detailing everything that occurred related to Arden’s care over a twenty-four-hour period. He kept updating the page, and a family member shared the link with others. Soon the audience for his blog, Ardensday.com, grew; the blog will be collected next year in Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad. A combination of personal stories and practical advice, Brenner’s ultimate message is that it is possible (very much so, in fact!) to find joy and meaning even in the most difficult moments of caring for a child living with diabetes.

Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents 

By Moira McCarthy (June 2013)

Moira McCarthy was an established writer and journalist when her six-year-old daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Like Calentine and Benner, McCarthy began to advocate and speak out. She put her writing skills to use in several books, including The Everything Guide to Cooking for Children with Diabetes, and on her Despite Diabetes blog. As the years went by, McCarthy discovered that taking care of a teenager with diabetes is a lot different than caring for a young child with diabetes. The inherent complexities of the teen years – fluctuating hormones, boundary-pushing, the need for freedom – may be compounded in an adolescent living with diabetes, and McCarthy found very little information or support to help her as a parent. So she’s written the book herself! Raising Teens with Diabetes: A Survival Guide for Parents will cover everything from teen friendships and dating to playing sports, addressing teen drinking, and the eventual transition to adulthood and self-care. McCarthy’s motto: With honesty comes safety.

For more on this topic:

Amy Stockwell Mercer offers another perspective on parenting in The Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes: Authentic Advice on Everything from Eating to Dating and Motherhood. Read more about Mercer on The DX.

Elizabeth Goodman Artis is a writer and editor with nearly twenty years of experience at some of the top women’s magazines in the country. She has held senior editorial positions at Cosmopolitan, Fitness, and Prevention, and is currently the Executive Editor of Muscle & Fitness Hers. She lives in Brooklyn. Artis is a paid contributor for The DX. All opinions contained in this article reflect those of the contributor (and interviewee), and not of Sanofi US, its employees, agencies or affiliates.

© 2012 The DX: The Diabetes Experience

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