She twists a strand of reddish hair that has fallen free from her ponytail while she listens to a message on her phone, then sighs and puts it back in her purse.
It’s a new group of moms. The kids are running amok in the small splash park and climbing precariously over small stone lions that silently watch over sparkling jets of water. It’s sunny. Joyful. But I am out of my element, because I don’t know these women well.
I miss my “mom friends” from our old city. I know them, have watched our children grow together, and become a better mom because of their collective wisdom. They are the only part of our old life that I regret leaving behind. If I could have swept them all up in a bag, slung them over my shoulder, and carried them with me here, I would have. (It would have been a heavy bag.)
While I am gregarious (sometimes to a fault) and have parlayed a career out of talking, I still get that nervous swirl in the pit of my stomach meeting people. It’s natural, right? Right. But that flutter has been a maelstrom lately, because the stakes are higher. I want them to like me, so that my daughter will have play mates. So, I try all the harder to fit in.
The woman sitting next to me turns and shares the reason behind her sigh. “I had a glucose tolerance test last week.” She absent-mindedly rubs her growing belly. I remember that clockwise sweep around my belly button, feeling The Kid roll and swim inside me. I am suddenly struck with jealousy pangs.
“They called me to tell me that my results are normal, but they just left me another message. I’m worried that they were wrong and that I actually have gestational diabetes. I don’t know how I would do it.” A few of the other women nod in agreement. My throat constricts.
My voice is muted, but still audible when I say: “You’d be fine. It’s not that hard.” I point to my pump and my CGM. There is a brief discussion about my diabetes and how long I’ve had it, then the gaggle of children rush towards us for the promise of goldfish crackers and chips.
I lied, but they won’t know it.
It is hard.
Every blood sugar out of range and the guilt that accompanies it.
Every comment made by strangers who do not understand.
Every judgement made by nurses and doctors and people you are supposed to trust.
Every thought of how easy it could be if you weren’t diagnosed with diabetes.
Every moment you wish for ten more children just like the single one you have because she is so incredible, but you know better.
I try to be an advocate for diabetes awareness, but some times, I wish I could just absent-mindedly rub my growing belly, complaining about a glucose tolerance test, while watching my daughter flit in and out of the water spray.
Today was one of those times.