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Emotions of a New Diagnosis

By in Support

Diabetes is a life-changing diagnosis.  Chances are you may be experiencing some very strong emotions all while you are being flooded with information on how to best take care of your child.

What You May Be Feeling

Shock, denial, anger, fear, and sadness are very typical feelings.  You may also be feeling a sense of guilt over the pain your child experiences with finger sticks and injections.  Or you may wonder if you “caused it.” Be reassured, diabetes is no one’s fault.

A chronic disease can also bring high levels of stress.  Family dynamics change as new responsibilities have to be sorted out in an already busy household.  Siblings may be jealous of the attention your child with diabetes receives.  Diabetes can also add to financial stress as you will have new expenses and insurance to deal with.  You may even be wondering if you can continue working with the extra time required to manage your child’s diabetes.

All of these reactions and feelings are normal and part of the process you, your child, and your family will need to work through. Even as you focus on learning new information and skills, it’s important that you do not overlook your own emotional needs.

What to Do

  • Reach out to the friends and family who know you best. They may offer some ideas and perspectives you haven’t considered.
  • Get involved – Join a local organization like JDRF or the American Diabetes Association. Attend a family diabetes camp on the weekend or the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference. Ask your diabetes team if they have events for families. These organizations may be able to connect you with other parents who have a child with type 1 diabetes and can help you through this difficult time.  They will understand your feelings. Visit our Sources of Support page for a full list of organizations that support families with type 1 diabetes.
  • Seek help from a professional counselor if needed – While it’s typical to experience anxiety, sadness, guilt and anger, you may need to seek help from a professional counselor if these negative emotions persist.

The transition to parenting a child with type 1 diabetes is a challenging one, but you can do it! Just don’t try to do it alone.


Updated 2/17/19

This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.