As a woman with diabetes, you may have noticed that you face unique challenges, from where to place your insulin pump, to pregnancy, to hormone fluctuations. Many diabetes books offer general diabetes advice, but few focus on women beyond just a short chapter. That is, until now.
Amy Mercer is a forty-year-old woman who has had type I diabetes for 25 years. She’s a wife, mother of three, teacher, writer, and runner. Last year, Amy was inspired to edit a book specifically for women with diabetes. A Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes: Authentic Advice on Everything From Eating to Dating and Motherhood comes out this July.
Q: Amy, what inspired you to edit a book specifically for women with diabetes?
A: I got the opportunity to go to San Diego to attend the Behavioral Diabetes Institute “Celebration of Strength” luncheon for women with diabetes in the month of my diabetes milestone [25-year anniversary]. It was the first time in my life that I was in a room full of women with diabetes, and it was really powerful and inspiring. For the first time, I could see and hear and touch other women wearing pumps and giving shots, and I realized that I was not alone with this disease. After more than half my life with diabetes, that weekend was an awakening for me.
Q: What makes your book different from the hundreds of other diabetes books?
A: I think what makes this book different and important are the stories I’ve collected from women living with the day-to-day challenges of diabetes. Looking back on the eight months it took to write and research A Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes, I can say that it has been an amazing journey. I went from someone who felt alone, bitter, angry, and often ashamed about having diabetes to someone who has comes to terms with this illness. This book has taught me that there are hundreds and thousands of women out there who are nothing like me in their personalities, appearances, likes, and dislikes, but who share one very important thing: diabetes.
Q: Sum up your book for me. What are the chapter topics?
A: The ten chapters are Diagnosis, Managing Adolescence, Eating, Eating Disorders, Exercise, Working Girl, Dating/Sex, Travel, Pregnancy, Motherhood, and Aging Gracefully. Each chapter includes practical, hands-on advice, quotes, and tips from women living with the disease, as well as women in the field of diabetes.
Q: What do you hope women will gain from the book?
A: I want women to pick up my book and read the chapter on the challenges of managing diabetes at work and feel heard and seen. I want them to read through the chapter on pregnancy when they are struggling with insulin resistance in the third trimester and feel comforted. I want women to pick up the book when they are preparing for a trip, flip through the travel chapter, and read the stories of other women who’ve gone there too. I hope that women will use this book as a resource and hand it to their friends and family and say,
“This is what living with diabetes feels like.”