Our biggest hesitation in starting the pump was having a way to tell that Amy was different just by looking at her. When you are on needles, you look just like everyone else. You blend in. Yes, we made sure that everyone at her school knew who she was, and that she had T1D, but you couldn't tell that just by looking at her.
We struggled with that a little bit. We thought about when she gets older. How fitting in with your peers is so important. We thought about how bullying still happens even with all the awareness campaigns. We thought about how much easier bullying is with the advent of social media. And we thought about extreme examples of bullying that resulted in the recent suicides of both Amanda Todd and Rehtaeh Parsons.
After all that, we felt that the benefits of pumping far outweighs the negative impacts it may have. We are hoping that we can raise a confident, self assured child (and eventually teenager) despite the obstacles that diabetes may place in front of her.
To hear Amy talk about her diabetes, to see how far she has come, how much she has learned, and to hear her explain to others in school what T1D is, and how she manages it, makes my heart swell with pride, and break at the same time.
It hurts me when she says that she doesn't want people who don't know her to ask what is around her waist. Or that kids are telling her she's not allowed to eat or drink on the bus, or that she doesn't want to be the only one who has an afternoon snack, or that she feels stupid because the buses are being held up for her to ensure that her BG has come back up to safe levels before going home. That she doesn't want to be singled out.
We are working on it, we roll play a little with educational and positive things she can say about what and why she is able to do some of these things when others can't. We talk about when she gets older and how she may feel. I know that at age 7, she still has a long way to go, but I'm hoping that by preparing her early she will be more comfortable with everything, diabetes included, that makes her who she is.
What made me think about self esteem today was reading posts on Facebook and in the news about A tween clothing giant and their CEO. Apparently comments were made years ago, but are being dredged to the surface again. Essentially they say that they don't make clothing for overweight people because they are targeting the "cool people". There are a number of articles and the actual comments out there and I also came across a great rebuttal to The CEO that touted him the King of Bullies.
[added May 10/13 @ 11am AST. Check out this response. I wanted to stand up and clap!]
How do you handle your or your child's feelings of being different because of diabetes? And have you/them been bullied because of it?