I love Stacey Simms. I religiously listen to Diabetes Connections, and I find her hilarious on Twitter. So when I was given the opportunity to read and review her newest book, World’s Worst Diabetes Mom, Real-Life Stories of Parenting a Child with Type 1 Diabetes, I jumped at the chance. I had a hunch that Stacey would bring levity and humor to the tougher parts of parenting a kiddo with type 1, and I wasn’t mistaken.
Stacey’s underlying parenting theme is, “not perfect, but safe and happy” and the love for her son Benny flows throughout the book. She covers everything diabetes-related in these 171 pages: from the first, scary night home after Benny’s initial diagnosis, to managing summer vacations and school trips, to growing up and older with a chronic disease.
Stacey is brutally honest. How many times have you rolled your eyes at the notion of the saying, “diabetes can’t stop me!” She admits that it can and does. She pours her heart out onto the page:
Our diabetes philosophy has always been about acknowledging the bad and being realistic about how diabetes can mess things up and slow us down. We’re not a “T1D will never stop us” kind of family. Diabetes stinks. It can stop you. But then you correct or treat or whatever you need to do to keep going and help your child live the life he or she wants. You cry, you laugh, and you keep moving forward.
This book is Benny’s coming of age story with diabetes, and I felt myself witnessing the heartbreak, sadness, mistakes, acceptance, and ultimate joy as if I were right in the storyline along with the Simms family. Stacey returns to the notion that community is everything, and cultivating that for and with your child can make all the difference.
The book is helpful in that at the end of each chapter, there’s a, “Ask Your Doctor/CDE” section with helpful questions and tips to take with you. The book does not offer medical advice, but is chicken soup for the diabetes mom’s soul.
She focuses a lot on the pointlessness of aiming for perfection with type 1 diabetes:
We needed to remember, always, that we were raising a child. Not a number, not a graph, not a lab result. Benny would always be more than his A1C or his time in range.
Stacey reminds us with this eloquent book that yes, diabetes does take up the majority of one’s time, energy, and mental space, but that there is a flow to be found, a beauty in the nuance of navigating life on such a small tightrope. Reaching out to others when you need a hand is OK, and it’s important to keep your child’s diabetes diagnosis in the context of childhood. Blood sugars will drop. Pump sites will fall out. There will be frustration and tears, but life goes on. I loved this book from beginning to end, and I’m ordering copies for all of my D-mom friends who need to know that they’re not alone.
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