Overcoming Gestational Diabetes

I can tune into all of those things, seek out help from our doctor who will manage this with us, and trust that my body will keep telling me what she needs.

A few months into my second pregnancy, I noticed my body felt sluggish after drinking my favorite cardamom latte. As someone who has suffered from PCOS for 20 years, I know my body and I know sugar can greatly exacerbate my symptoms. I managed to dodge gestational diabetes with my first baby, and up until that moment, I had been able to tolerate some treats and the occasional cardamom latte.

But I knew whatever reprieve I had experienced up until that point with my pregnancy was over. I had a prenatal appointment the next day and asked my doctor-midwife, Leslie, if I could start testing my glucose levels at home, even though I technically still had weeks to go before I was required to do my gestational diabetes blood test. 

I tested. It was high. It was too high. I immediately started making necessary diet adjustments with Leslie's help. The numbers climbed. I made more adjustments.

During the next few weeks, the numbers climbed even higher, and so did my stress. My anxiety escalated, detaching me from my body and her process, all the while knowing that this wasn't healthy for my baby and feeling helpless to stop it. 

The shame was overwhelming. Why was my body broken? What had I done to my baby? I began to spiral into self-loathing. Gestational diabetes felt like a failure. My body, the one I have tried for decades to love and nurture, felt more like a punishment than a powerful home for the baby I was carrying. It seemed the stricter I became with my diet and daily regimen, the worse my body responded.

 

I reminded her, as Leslie reminded me, that a bit of insulin resistance is normal in pregnancy. I reminded her, as a friend reminded me, that THIS IS NOT A PUNISHMENT. 

 

On the day I maxed out my dose of diabetes medication, my anxiety spiked. The tears would not stop. I called my husband. He came home, flowers in hand. He hugged me tight, and took over with our 4-year-old son. I crawled into a bath, allowed the stress to be absorbed by water around me. I crawled from the bath to bed and slept. When I woke up at 2:30, I ate a snack and went back to sleep. I woke up to an empty, tidy house and an offer for a massage from my BFF. I took long walk after that massage, drank a cup of coffee, ate a normal un-restricted lunch, and I felt better.

I felt the reconnection with my body, my intuition, and my baby. I felt the stress shifting. And with every shift, my blood sugar dropped. I ate what my body told me she needed, I drank the water my body was thirsty for, I moved my limbs in loving, gentle ways. Over the next few months, my body continued to respond positively to the kindness and care I treated her with and my blood sugar dropped into normal ranges.

 

Related: Pregnant With PCOS

 

I reminded her, as Leslie reminded me, that a bit of insulin resistance is normal in pregnancy. I reminded her, as a friend reminded me, that THIS IS NOT A PUNISHMENT. 

My body is not a punishment. Her response is not punitive. It is her way, and I can honor her signals, her reminders, and trust her to tell me what she needs when she needs it.

I can tune into all of those things, seek out help from our doctor who will manage this with us, and trust that she will keep telling me what she needs. 

I can be faithful to her. 

Our bodies, our babies, our physiology, are not punishments for our transgressions. They are wise beyond understanding. YOU are wise beyond understanding, sister. Honor your own wisdom.


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