In July of this year, I was invited to Boston University to discuss Bridging the Chasm between Pregnancy and Women’s Health over the Life Course. I was invited as a woman who had dealt with gestational diabetes (five times) and currently lives with Type 2 diabetes. I saw a need for education and care about my gestational diabetes beyond the birth of my children.
It is known that women with gestational diabetes have a much greater chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. I learned that in my research as a young mother, wanting to be proactive about my health. Yet I wasn't tested until March 2008 for Type 2. This was at my request. It was not the suggestion of my doctor. This was 3.5 years after my fifth child was born. My oldest child was 15 years old. Why had I not been tested before this?
In this picture I'm sharing my "why". Why did I feel the need to be at this conference? I felt the need to give a face to the patient. I was and I am the patient. I want to make a difference, not just for other mothers dealing with gestational diabetes, but also for my children. Some of my daughters may want to be mother. Do they face the same fate?
After my experience, I am now feeling drawn to help women with gestational diabetes to receive the post-natal care that they deserve. Yes, pre-natal care is vital for both mother and child. However mothers also need after care well beyond the birth of their child. Some referred to the time after childbirth as the fourth trimester. Ideally this care would last for the rest of a woman's life. Mothers need to receive healthcare so they can be there for their families.
As a busy mother, wife, and teacher, finding the time and balance to accomplish this is sure to be a feat. I want to step up my advocacy. Raise my voice. Help more people. I don't know how long it will take me to climb this mountain, but I know it starts one step at a time.