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The Steel Magnolias effect

For better or worse, I think Steel Magnolias becomes a part of your life once you're diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. You all know the scene. Shelby's sitting in the beauty parlor chair getting an updo, when her incredibly dramatic low kicks in and she starts freaking out and shaking like she's having a seizure:

"Drink your juice, Shelby"

Then she has a baby and she dies. Or that's how it seems most non-PWDs and non-T3s remember the movie.

Steel Magnolias came out in 1989, a mere four years before my diagnosis. Back then, I'd get a lot of "Oh! Like that movie!" reactions when people heard I had diabetes, and it drove me absolutely bananas. Yes, I have lows but what you saw was a movie "reenactment" - I've felt like crap, I've shaken like a leaf, I've sweat and lost my temper, I've had alllll the symptoms...but I've never had a low like Shelby did.

I've also had a lot of people assume I'd never be able to have children thanks to that movie. Big Nan, of course, was a naysayer but even otherwise-supportive friends and family can't get Shelby's death out of their heads. For the record, folks: diabetic women can have healthy pregnancies and can deliver healthy babies. YDMV, naturally, and complications (like my mild non-proliferative background retinopathy) can make pregnancy more difficult and, yes, even unsafe - just like Shelby's was.

The fact is that - like most things in life - every person is different and these are always a case-by-case situation. But uneducated people often make incorrect assumptions, and I kind of dreaded "coming out" with my pregnancy for this very reason. I figured it would be the food police times a bajillion, and cringed whenever I thought of the pity-head-tilts or exclamations of surprise/horror/shaming that people would give when they knew I was diabetic and pregnant.

So, knowing how anxious I was about it, B was his usual amazing self and got me my very first baby gift:

Update: If you aren't Shelby either, click here!

So keep your head-tilt to yourself, buck-o, and stop judging me and my life by 80s movies. Shelby's life, her choices, her disease have nothing to do with mine. I'm not Shelby, because I'm me.

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