Type 1 Diabetes is not something you hear about often. We tend to associate it with needles, but don't understand that it also contributes to hormone issues, overall health and thyroid problems, and high-risk pregnancies. Piper Backholm is a young mom with a beautiful 1-year-old daughter named Opal. Diagnosed when she was 4 years old, Piper has been battling T1D for most of her life.
Before Opal came along, Piper was a freelance writer, social media manager, and part-time employee at a Physical Therapist's office. Getting pregnant with Opal was a big deal for Piper and the actual pregnancy was not without it's hurdles. Despite this, Piper carried to term and was able to deliver naturally.
"Pregnancy and delivery were hard, but I think the most unexpected challenge was my postpartum journey," says Piper.
"I expected delivery and nursing and lack of sleep to be rough, but I didn't expect the hormone imbalances caused my T1D and thyroid issues. My mental health kind of took a back seat in light of new motherhood and coping with what followed was very difficult. My emotions felt so far out of my control and it was difficult to learn how to deal with that aspect of Postpartum."
But Piper is determined not to let T1D rule her life. She constantly looks for the beauty in every day, the best of which she says is Opal. Staying on top of her health involves avoiding foods that spike her blood sugar and checking her blood sugars first thing in the morning. "I have to be proactive about my illness to make sure I'm in control of what my body is...not doing, so to speak," reflects Piper. "This way I'm able to better prepare myself and my family for the day ahead. I've had to become aware of the way my mental state and my blood sugars go together."
Piper's day as a mom is primarily centered around Opal. But she is back to content creation, social media management, and helping her husband in his business, Gold Fox Design. She is also building a personal brand, complete with a YouTube channel geared towards moms and women with T1D. "My vision for my brand is to share motherhood with vulnerability and T1D with knowledge and reliability," explains Piper. "When pregnant with Opal, there was such a lack of resources outside of my Endocrinologist for having a pregnancy with T1D and it was very isolating. I plan to share about how I managed a pregnancy with T1D on my youtube channel, but it's also for women in general. I'm extremely passionate about motherhood and life with T1D and I'm excited to share my thoughts and experiences surrounding these topics."
Piper's dream is to turn her YouTube channel into a business and hopes that her vision and voice are used to glorify God and bring greater awareness to life with T1D. Her passion for relationships, sharing her life, and helping other women see their value and importance causes her to seek deeper levels of honesty across her platforms.
"If there's one thing I wish I would have had more of a grip on sooner, its my self care. For women struggling with chronic illness, it's important to set aside that space for self-care, to be honest with yourself, and allow yourself the grace to deal with whatever you have going on. Taking care of yourself first is important so that you can be your best self for those around you. It's overwhelming, wonderful, and also trying to be a new mom, but with chronic illness you have an extra set of needs you have to meet and those need to take priority. Often, it'll only take five minutes," encourages Piper. "Make time to take care of yourself and take the time to build a tribe of people who care about you and your family and won't be afraid to speak truth into your life."