Of course I wanted to see what this was all about :) Funny thing is, you put 13 very vocal parents of T1's all talking about T1 in a room and you will be there for a very LoOoOoOg time.
On that night I received this form titled:
A Parents Emotional Reactions To Finding Out Their Child Has Type 1 Diabetes.
(I'm not sure who wrote this or were it came from so unfortunately I cannot give credit were it is due)
DISBELIEF: Disbelief is usually everyone's first reaction. How can this be? You may have an urgent need for certainty. Is the doctor sure? Can the tests be done again? Maybe my child will prove them wrong? My child/teen has been doing too much, she/he will get better.
DISMAY and SADNESS: Usually follow confirmation of the diagnosis. Grieving for the pre-diagnosis days is natural, especially as you begin to learn all about diabetes management: insulin, blood glucose monitoring, meal planning. How will we ever manage it all?
FEAR and ANGER: How can this diagnosis be and why? Was there something we could have done to prevent this? Is there something we weren't told by our family doctor or our public health officials? Is it something in the environment? How will diabetes change our lives? What effects will it have on our child's long-term health? Why us?
BLAME: When many people receive unwelcome news they begin to blame others for it, even close family members. Blaming is a frantic, irrational attempt to find answers to this unbelievable news. Some might say "Well, it's not from our side of the family" or other may say "If only you hadn't been feeding the kid so much sugar, this wouldn't have happened". Some can even use religious or other beliefs and say such things as "If you had stayed in your religious community, this would not have happened". The common thread in all of these "blaming statements" is that each person is coping with feelings of shock and dismay by blaming the easiest person to blame-themselves. Once the family-including grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings, and even family friends-have all the information, everyone will be able to see how blaming doesn't really help.
FEARS of RETRIBUTION/PUNISHMENT: Some families have strong beliefs about a diagnosis of diabetes being a form of "punishment" for something the family and /or child has done wrong. Such beliefs can be overwhelming. Diabetes can occur in any child at any time and is NOT in any way a punishment for anything.
GUILT: Another powerful emotion that is experienced by the family is guilt. It is a form of self-blaming that seems to occur naturally when we are in crisis. What did I/we do wrong? This could be especially true if parents have type 1 diabetes themselves. About 5% of kids newly diagnosed with diabetes DO have a parent or sibling with diabetes. The key is to focus on how your knowledge of living with diabetes will help your child learn to live with it too! A sibling may also experience guilt and thing that she/he "caused" the diabetes. Parents will need to reassure them that it is not their fault that their brother or sister got diabetes.
Many of these emotional reactions I remember going through at Cara's diagnoses and a few emotional reactions that are not on this list but the most important thing that anyone can do is make sure you get the support that you need to make it through these feelings.