At the beginning of February, the association "Diabetes and pre-diabetes" with the support of "Time Heroes" formed a team of psychologists and several more experienced parents with the idea of helping those parents who are faced with the diagnosis of "diabetes" for the first time” to his children. This is a hugely stressful situation for both them and the children, especially in the first weeks. Apart from the purely medical requirements and the habits they have to acquire to take care of their children, parents need someone to give them a hand, to calm them down so they can accept the situation and move on. The idea of creating such a team was born and carried out by the president of the association, Mariana Alexandrova, and other members of the organization, mostly mothers of children with this diagnosis, but with already "accumulated experience" in this regard. Psychologist Emilian Krumov was also recruited into the team, who happily "embraces" this noble undertaking
"The idea was born after a meeting of our mothers of children with diabetes and the team of the association "Diabetes and pre-diabetes", said Mrs. Alexandrova especially for the "Doctor" village. - All of them regularly shared how incredibly stressed and shocked they were, what fear they had in the first days and weeks after the diagnosis. "I didn't know what world I was in, I didn't know how I was going to deal with life from now on, I'm afraid, I'm very afraid of what I'm going to do…" - this is how they describe their condition in this unexpected and very difficult situation for them. Yes, the doctors were there for them, they explained to them the basic requirements regarding the care of a child with diabetes - the average units, the insulin doses… However, there was no one to support them purely psychologically. So the idea was born to try to help overcome this initial shock. We spoke with the diabetes department - with Prof. Konstantinova and Dr. Savova, who agreed that a "mothers helping mothers" team should be involved in supporting those who hear the diagnosis for their child for the first time. They even promised to point out such women to us, rather direct them to us. After that, we contacted the psychologist Emilian Krumov, who accepted the idea as great and immediately joined the help-team. Purely financially, we were also supported and that's how we started. In fact, we do the communication, the contacts, in the following way: we find mothers in the diabetes unit and invite them to join our meeting live or by phone, if they prefer, or online. They themselves choose the form in which we make contacts and provide real support. Believe me, our help is real, especially in relation to mothers who we hit on the first day - when they have just learned the diagnosis. These women can't even speak, they're so terrified, they're crying all the time.
But really after meeting our "experienced" mothers, talking to them on the phone or participating in the online meetings, they calm down. Yes, it happens a little later when they get home, but it has a big impact on their condition. The fact that they see other parents with the same fate, but who have gone through it, gradually makes them understand that life does not end at all with what happened to them. I mean, this idea of ours turned out to be very, very good - we came across mothers, parents in general, who literally did not know what to do, they started anti-depressants, they were overwhelmed by negative thoughts, they were very bad".
Ms. Alexandrova pointed out that they have covered 9 mothers so far, the project is still at the beginning. And he shared that they get back on their feet much faster once they already know what to do from now on. They are included in the "diabetic" Facebook groups. This is how they manage to realize that they are not the only ones with such a problem, and this somewhat gives them courage.
"The idea is to provide psychological support, to the extent that people are ready at the moment to realize it and accept it - said clinical psychologist Emilian Krumov. - I am happy to join these gatherings, for now the support meetings are happening online. Most of the mothers and parents in the groups have children who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes, they have no experience, they are experiencing stress. The purpose of my participation is exactly this - to support these parents in a situation of shock and great stress, because it is really not just about standard knowledge about caring for a child with diabetes. Help should be given, especially to children who have concomitant other diseases, as well as to their parents. Usually, diabetes is not just a matter of processing sugar and insulin. There are stresses, there are other types of things that affect not only the child and the mother, but the whole family. Parents are alone at such a moment and feel guilty that they missed the disease, that they did not "catch" it earlier…"
Watch a short but very emotional interview on the subject with one of the mothers in the project - Dorothea Lukanova - also a member of the "Diabetes and Prediabetes" association
You should not submit your life to the disease
Hello, you participate directly and directly in the support group. Please explain your reasons for this, and what exactly this support entails?
- I want to first note that the creator and engine of this help-team is Marijana Alexandrova. This kind of mutual aid, so to speak, has existed for a long time and exists among all people who have found themselves in our situation. However, in the many conversations we have had in the association, other mothers have also shared that the most specific and important moment of such a supportive and encouraging conversation is during the first week or two. And in such a short period of time, no mother can simultaneously accept the two things she hears: "diabetes" and "for life". It takes time to get used to it. You know, with us there is one specific thing: it is very important that the parents' concentration during the first month or two be extremely focused on the medical part of diabetes. I.e. parents are trained in the hospital how to care for a child with diabetes, how to calculate doses and foods, what needs to be monitored, how to measure blood sugar, etc.f. everything that allows the child to live. And there should not be any deviation at such a moment, because it is very important to get a routine quickly, so that there is no fear, worry, shock. It's all a matter of routine and time. Adequate in time for a person to be able to achieve balance and control of diabetes within normal limits. Therefore, it is important that she receives a shoulder, a hand of friendship, who has recently passed the same path.
How did you yourself deal with that first shock, hearing the diagnosis of diabetes for your own child?
- Going back in time and analyzing, I came to the conclusion that if the other two or three mothers in the ward were not there then, I would have collapsed at the beginning. They already had 7-8 years of "experience", they shared their knowledge with us, the "newbies", reassured us all the time, advised us to listen to the doctors.
I.e. received the support you now want to give to other moms?
- Yes, but not everyone has this chance. Apart from that, once you get home, things change a bit, although you still have the fear of whether you're going to make it. But the adjustment period is short. The moment remains that after all, outside the hospital, the return road to reality already begins. I.e. this time when you realize that actually diabetes is not a punishment, that neither you nor anyone else in the family is to blame for it. I mean, you accept diabetes as part of the family, but you stop thinking of it as a leading element in your life. This is the place to show the outstanding support of the inpatient nurses. Besides being extremely good professionals, they are amazing people. Only they can tell how many women like me have cried on their shoulder. Everything seems to start from there. I remember one of my sisters saying, "The only chance you have to move forward is to accept diabetes as part of the family and not in any way make your life revolve around it."
You quickly get used to it, gain routine and experience and continue your life as it is. It gave me a lot of strength and I will always be grateful. In fact, I keep repeating this phrase to myself. Yes, the shock during the first 3-4 days is such that you listen but it's like you don't hear the things you were told. And somewhere around the 2nd month you start to realize them. So: you received medical and human support - from doctors and nurses. Then we meet other parents like us and believe me, things become many times easier. Of course, I also thank social media for promoting this project of ours, because that way it is much easier to find people with whom you can exchange information. We are simply providing an option to all those who will learn what happened to them yesterday, today or tomorrow. And if they feel the need, if they are interested, they will have the opportunity to talk to another parent who will give them courage and show them the steps. You know that a long journey is started with slow steps. It is not said that you have to learn everything in one week, there is no way to do that.
I will again quote one of the sisters who told us then: "It is like giving birth to a child again, you have just given birth and you are starting to raise it." In general, at the first moment the feeling is like this - you are afraid, you don't know what to do, but over time, with experience, things settle down.
If you want help, even if diabetes is not newly diagnosed for you, but a long-standing companion, look for the Help-team of the association "Diabetes and pre-diabetes".