Healthy Mom = Happy Baby

As parents, we obsess over our childrens' health. Is that a cough? Did I hear a wheeze? Does he eat enough green things? Get enough sleep? We bundle our kids for cold weather, strap them in carseats that double as straightjackets, buy expensive helmets for riding bikes around the block.

And well we should. That is our job. But in the midst of all the wiping down of changing tables and keeping dirt off the floor that our kids might find and eat, we often neglect our own health. I admit, for the first year of my baby's life, I was a trainwreck. I stopped taking my thyroid medicine because I never went for a checkup to refill it. I cooked whatever was fast and fattening, and I gave up on exercising altogether. There just wasn't time. Heck, I barely squeezed in the time to change my sheets, let alone get a mammogram or have my cholesterol checked.

Recently, though, I carved out an hour for a doctor's visit. I had a litany of items to cover with her. Because between taking the baby to the pediatrician once a week for ear infections, RSV, milk intolerance, Fifth disease, and well-baby checkups, I'd failed to see a doctor for myself even once.

I needed the full workup. I think she was exhausted when I left. I know I was.

But, in the wake of my newfound dieting philosophy, I felt elated to have marked another health-related item off my list. I had a fistful of fresh prescriptions and I knew how to use them. It's a health high! And if I hadn't contracted RSV from the baby, I'd be feeling like a million bucks.

I had a little scare, you see. My visit to the doctor unearthed a possible lump in my breast. Having had several friends in their early 30's get breast cancer in recent years, I take these things quite seriously. And as I drove away from my mammography appointment with my "all clear" results (my second in four years, and I'm not yet 40 - see? I AM SERIOUS) feeling the normal relief one feels when she's told she gets to keep her breasts at least another day, I thought a lot about how much more serious health issues are for me now than they ever were before.

I mean, my kid? He needs me. I may not be all that, but I'm all he's got in the Mama Department. And I'm not much good to him if I'm tired, laid up, sick, or worse. I know so many women who take pristine care of their childrens' health issues, and all but ignore their own. So, friends, pick up the phone. That mole on your arm that's been looking funny for a month? Check it out. Your stress level through the roof? Get on the treadmill. Don't do it for yourself, if you aren't motivation enough (I'm not - left to my own devices I'd eventually let myself dissovle into a puddle of carcinogens and bacon), do it for your kids, and really, for your partner, who REALLY NEEDS YOU to cook dinner sometimes and watch the baby while he or she showers. Really, that's the best Valentine you can give your family.


kallipalooza 7 years, 7 months ago

Wow, what a good reminder. It's sooo true. You can't take care of anyone else if you don't take care of yourself.
Signed, Miss "I don't feel like testing my blood sugar 4 times a day".

19thcentury 7 years, 7 months ago

Bravo!! Couldn't have said it better myself! Not only do I firmly believe that one has to care for themselves first before they are able to care for others, I also realize that I am role modeling for the baby now. If she sees me eating crap and laying on the couch day after day, she'll repeat my behavior. But if she sees me carving time out for a run and some squats, then hopefully baby will learn that she has a responsibility to her health. Love. This. Post.

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