Defining a “D-Parent”

D-Moms and D-Dads are the parents of a person with diabetes… but I think the definition is a little more narrow, at least for me personally.

I got thinking about this when I read the article on Diabetes Mine about the Miss Manners situation and how her son has type 1 diabetes. Here’s the article.  (This post is NOT commentary on this article or the situation, just what got my brain churning.)

Mike’s a great writer and I enjoy reading his articles, but I raised an eyebrow when he called Judith Martin a “D-Mom” after I found out her son, Nick, was diagnosed with Type 1 in his 20s.  It’s not my place to judge the impact of diabetes on another family, but as someone who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in my 20s (22 to be exact), I would not call or consider my mom a D-Mom.

When I think of a D-Parent, I don’t think of people like my mom, whose adult child was diagnosed with type 1. I think of parents who gave the person with diabetes their first shot, the parents who count(ed) carbs for their child, the ones who wake (or woke) up in the middle of the nights to test blood sugar. I think of the parents who bear the brunt (or bore the brunt) of diabetes management, who dealt with d-guilt instead of their child, who battle misconceptions about the condition and who answered the stupid questions of an uninformed society (“Did you give your kid too much sugar and now they have diabetes?)

When I think of a D-parent, I don’t think of my mom. My mom is the parent of a person with diabetes. My mom’s youngest child has diabetes.

My mom is not a D-Mom, she’s just my mom.

I did not live in her house with diabetes. She has never given me a shot. She has never checked my blood sugar. She has never counted my carbohydrates. And if she has dealt with stupid questions and misconceptions about my diabetes, she hasn’t told me about it.

Just because my mom isn’t a D-Mom, it doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care about how diabetes impacts me. My mom may not be involved in my care, but she does care. I interviewed her a year and a half ago about it.

With all of that said, I feel that when a child with diabetes grows up, their parent does not cease being a D-Parent. I think once you’ve cared for all of the ins and outs of diabetes, you probably just can’t forget it.

If you were diagnosed in adulthood, do you consider your parents to be D-Moms and D-Dads?


Here’s another plea for your votes… final voting ends tomorrow and I’d love it if you’d vote for me for Best DIY Post for my Tea Party Dress Refashion.

7 thoughts on “Defining a “D-Parent”

  1. I completely agree. I was diagnosed at age 30, and while my parents care, they have no idea what Diabetes entails. They are not D-Parents. They have never been responsible for D. Mrs. Martin is the mother of an adult with Diabetes, that is a completely different job than parenting a child with Diabetes, at the very least from a responsibility standpoint.

  2. I TOTALLY agree. As a T1 dx’d at age 27, my mother still has almost ZERO understanding of diabetes (she thinks I need insulin if my sugar is low – oooph!). I think calling her a D-parent is doing a great disservice to those parents out there acting as a pancreas for their child 24-7. Thank for this post Rachel!

  3. I disagree. Regardless of the age of a child, a parent is always a parent. Even if your mom doesn’t count carbs, I assume she still cares about you and your health, and your diabetes is certainly something on her mind, even if her level of hands-on involvement is minimal.

    I know many parents of small children with diabetes who know nothing about their child’s disease, and I also know many parents of PWD diagnosed as adults who know diabetes inside and out. Does there really need to be a checklist of requirements to earn a community-created moniker like “D-Mom” or can we instead embrace the people who support us on this big mess of a journey?

    For the record, I also consider my mom “just my mom,” despite my diabetes diagnosis at the age of seven. And if you want to get to the technical language bits and pieces of things, wouldn’t I be a D-Mom, since I’m a mom with diabetes? 😉

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  5. I’m not sure when a “D-Mom” suddenly came with a definition other than “mother of a person/child with diabetes.” Just like the activities of PWDs come in many forms, so do D-Moms. Some PWDs are very involved in the community, highly educated, getting the new-fangled devices. Some couldn’t care less about their diabetes. Does that make them less of a PWD? Nope.

    Let’s try to not expand the definition of a D-mom (or D-dad) beyond what it is. Are there super active D-moms of all ages? Yes. I have friends who were diagnosed as adults and their parents are very involved. I also have friends who were diagnosed as tweens or teens and their parents were hardly involved at all. All of them have D-Moms, but some are just more involved than others.

    Just because your D-mom doesn’t want to be involved does not negate the status of someone else’s D-mom. You both have D-moms. They are just different. End of story.

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