You don't have to be a woman, have cancer or be pregnant to support women's health
On the contrary, if you have been blessed with your health you should be the one to support loved ones affected by women's health issues and recognise that your duty is to help raise awareness for all the problems that may be encountered on the journey to womanhood: her bumpy journey.
Why is "Bumps on the Road" such an appropriate title for a woman's story? Well, it seems that women can not get away from them. Big or small, safe or alarming, metaphor or realistic a woman will be faced with many "bumps" from puberty to menopause and everything in between.
The Early Year Bumps- A young woman going through puberty will develop breasts, which later in life may become a threat to her health. As her hormones come flooding in, she may be blessed with a stubborn bumpy friend called acne. She will start thinking about her sexuality and will need to learn about ways to protect herself against any transmittable diseases like bumpy genital warts (HPV) that may lead to cervical cancer.
Planned and Unplanned Bumps- You made it through puberty, you finished school and all the drama it brings. You are set in your career, you are in a blossoming relationship and now you want a family. You may be among the lucky ones who gets pregnant on the first try and delivers a healthy baby without a breeze. You may be the one who struggles with Infertility or faces a devastating miscarriage or dare I say it: a stillbirth. You may have some challenges with your health and need to manage your endometriosis, fibroids, cysts and every other literal bumps that gets in the way.
Now you're pregnant and guess what? A whole new set of complications come rushing in. Don't get me wrong, pregnancy is a wonderful experience, but people surrounding you don't always understand all the issues and fear a woman can face during pregnancy, not to mention during her delivery. Genetic complications, hyperthyroid, hypertension, obesity, gestational diabetes and pre-eclamspia just to name a few.
"Pregnancy isn't fatal, why should I be alarmed?" It shouldn't be, but in most impoverished countries it is. Thankfully, we live in a country where we have access to quality care and have the privilege of surviving something so natural as childbirth. But truth be told, this is a whole other ballgame.
You survived childbirth, and now you have to take care of a new baby. You may struggle with depression, anxiety and may have bonding issues with your baby. You may have difficulty with breastfeeding or have to take care of a colicky baby while being sleep deprived. Not that I am trying to cut this paragraph short, but I am sparing you the details. I could write an entire book about all the life adjustments a new mom has to make while discovering the new person she has become.
The Later Year Bumps- Not to alarm you, but it seems that as you get older the bumps in your life get bigger and scarier! While I am not in this part of my journey yet, I do know that I will have to face Menopause, and maybe even Osteoporosis. I will have to avoid deadly cancers on my breasts, ovaries and colon. I will have to ensure that I lead a healthy lifestyle and take care of my heart. All of this while I nurture my growing family and people around me. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill.
I am so lucky to be a woman, and even luckier to work for an organization that looks after my health and well being.
Please join me, on October 20th for the 3rd annual Canadian Foundation for Women's Health's "Bumps on the Road- A 9K Walk for Pregnancy" This year we have partnered with Life with a Baby and our local presenting sponsor Heritage Education Funds. Remember, you don't have to be pregnant to support the cause. We encourage men, women and children to participate. Come walk 9 km to honour the women in your life! Who knows, one day it could be you!