Today's prompt for Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge is to pretend you're asking a question about your health condition on Yahoo! Answers and then answer the question as an expert.
What are the chances that my baby will get diabetes like me?
I have type 1 diabetes and I am wondering if I should expect my children to have it, too. It makes me scared to get pregnant, but I really want children. I don't want to feel guilty for giving them diabetes.
You'd be surprised how often this question comes up for women who have diabetes. There are those who ask with genuine curiosity, those who ask with genuine concern, and those who ask in a way that makes you feel as though you've knowingly put a human being's life at risk by bringing them into the world as your child.
The truth is that the risk of developing Type 1 Diabetes is pretty much the same for a child of a diabetic as that of a child of a non-diabetic. There appear to be increased risks if you are a male parent with Type 1, if you (as a parent) were diagnosed earlier in life, or if you (as a parent) conceive a child earlier in your adult years. (See this link from the ADA.)
The genetic component of Type 1 is yet to be fully understood. There are families (like mine) in which there is only one person with Type 1 as far back as can be traced. And there are families where parents and children share it, or cousins in the same generation, or three children in the same nuclear family.
As an expert on this topic - meaning that I am a parent and a T1D who gets asked this frequently as people stare at my innocent daughter and wonder aloud about her fate, I feel like it's a question to which no one has an answer. I usually respond with, "There's no reason to suspect she'll get it. After all, I'm the only one in my family..." and let the conversation trail off as though I've never given it a second thought.
I give it a second thought. And then I squelch it with something my husband said to me once.
"If she does get diabetes, who better to deal with it than us?"