I'm writing this post for all the women who read my blog. And for the women in your lives. Because this needs to be said.
To start at the beginning, I was watching a show on tv (because my computer was broken and I needed a break from sewing).
A long story short, there was a woman on the show who was looking for an outfit for herself, and was in tears. She was uncomfortable shopping for herself, and said that she almost never does. She said that she couldn't justify spending money on herself when she has children to clothe.
The woman on the show made a very valid point; "You need to put the oxygen mask on yourself first, so you can help the other people around you."
Now, I know this. I've heard this before. But watching that woman on there break down just hit home.
I know that it's not just me who does this. I know there are millions of moms out there who put everyone else before themselves, all the time, no matter what, just because it's what we DO.
The fact is that in the US, the leading cause of death in women is heart disease. In Canada, it's cancer. There is a ton of information on line that will clearly show what is killing our mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and ultimately US, all across the globe. The facts are right there in front of us.
Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. (W.K.O.W.com)
Medline Plus: A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine
National Institutes of Health
Leading causes of death (Stats Canada)
I think women are dying because we fail to put ourselves first. We put the oxygen on our loved ones before ourselves, so to speak. We put our families needs before our own to the point that we're risking our own lives. We don't take care of ourselves the way we need to. We are so worried about everyone else, that we put ourselves on the back-burner.
My own personal story on this was when I had a very serious gall-bladder attack just over a year ago.
I didn't know what was wrong with me, I just knew I was really really sick. But I had a small baby at home, and two 2 1/2 year olds, and so I just did my best to get through the day, laying down as much as possible.
After about three days I was sick to the point that I could not eat anything whatsoever. Any food I put in my mouth would end up in the toilet within seconds. Still, I kept on taking care of my family. Even though the pain I'd been feeling in my side got so bad that it was starting to make me feel insane.
A week into it I started feeling afraid. I knew that whatever was wrong with me was severe. But how could I leave my kids?? How could I even go to the Dr. when I was breastfeeding so often? What if he made me go to the hospital? What would I do for the baby?!
On the 8th day I was so sick I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't lift the baby. My husband had to bring her to me to nurse her. I couldn't move. I hadn't eaten a single thing in 5 days, and had been living on water.
I started thinking that I was going to start needing to write things down, just in case I wasn't around to raise my kids...things someone would need to know about them. I really honestly did not think I was going to survive whatever it was that was wrong with me. (And I'm not one of those dramatic people who say things like that.) I really truly felt as though if things were left alone, I wasn't going to make it through whatever it was.
When I'd been sick for 9 days, my husband took me to the Dr. It was the walk-in clinic (which is actually an appointment-only after-hours clinic), to see the Dr.
He was amazing.
He didn't know what was wrong with me...only that there was something VERY wrong. He gave me a sheet with a huge list of blood tests he wanted done, he made an appointment for me to have an x-ray of my entire chest/torso/belly, and put me on a strong antibiotic, just until I could find out what was causing me to be so sick.
Well, the next day I had an x-ray, and did the blood work. I had already started to feel like maybe I wasn't going to die after all.
The blood work and x-ray both showed things that told the Dr. what was wrong with me. I have seven gall stones in my gall bladder. Sometimes when they're in there they can cause a gall bladder attack. Which is what I had.
At the time I was told what it was, my Dr. strongly urged me to have my gall bladder removed ASAP. He told me that the stones were small and could travel through my bile duct, and cause jaundice, or kill me.
I looked at him and said, "I can't have surgery. I'm breastfeeding."
|Despite what he told me, I was holding my ground.|
...My MIL passed away suddenly in November from sepsis caused by her gall bladder.
I get it.
(And sometimes people ARE being selfish...we all know atleast one mom who takes it a little too far and looks out for themselves before everyone else, and it's at the expense of her family...
But I'm not talking about THOSE moms.)
The fact is (and it IS A FACT), that you cannot take care of your family if you're not alive to do it.
Your family needs you. They NEED you. And they deserve to have you here with them for as long as they possibly can have you.
Please take care of yourself. Please see a Dr. regularly. Please get a pap test done every year. Please do self breast exams on a regular basis. Eat right. Take a walk from time to time. And stop making excuses!!
I guarantee that if a child was suddenly not feeling well, and you couldn't figure out what was wrong with them, you would take them into the Dr. just to be checked out. You wouldn't wait until you thought they were standing on death's door to take them in.
I'm not asking for you to suddenly start spending all of your money on things for yourselves. I'm asking for you to treat yourself as well as you treat your family. That's it. Look out for yourself like you would look out for them. Because you are important to them, and by taking care of yourself, you ARE taking care of them.
Like I said, I'm writing this as someone who is also very guilty of putting that metaphorical oxygen mask on my family first. I understand the thought process. But really, let's stick around and watch them grow up, shall we? Let's not die from things un-necessarily. Let's be there for the people we live for...and let's LIVE for them. And let's set an example for them...so they know that it's not only OKAY to take care of themselves, it's REQUIRED. Let's not make them live their lives without us, and let's not teach them to follow that pattern. Let's do things differently, and model that for those people who mean the very most to us.
As a united group we need to stand up and say, "I will take every measure possible to live as long as I can. My family deserves that. I deserve that. And I am NOT selfish for taking care of myself. I am selfish if I DON'T."
To ALL of the beautiful women out there, I say this; Put on your oxygen mask. Take care of yourselves. Your family needs you even more than you think they do. They DEPEND on you. They WANT you in their lives, and they do not want to watch you die because you cared more about them than yourself. Your family NEEDS you. They need you.
I want all of you to be here to watch the little ones grow up. I want you to live your lives free of un-necessary pain, disease, worry, or sadness. I want you make your own health and mental well-being a priority. You need to do that for yourself, and for everyone around you.
I am putting that out there for all of you, but it's up to all of you to make it happen. Please. Make it happen.
Love and light to all of you. xoxo