Moreover, adoptive mothers, aunts, guardians and others step in to maternal shoes with a loving touch and warm embrace.
Maternal Health in South Africa
Over the past decade, the South African Department of Health has considered maternal health a key focus area, implementing a wide range of support and intervention programmes that seek to decrease infant and maternal mortality while extending the longevity of women’s lives. Programmes like Mom Connect, that helps pregnant women stay informed during their pregnancy and beyond, and the much-feted PMTCT programme that seeks to decrease infant HIV transmission rates have seen significant results in recent times. But there’s more to motherhood than pregnancy, and a keen eye should be kept on your health throughout life.
What Should I Do?
While they may be uncomfortable to consider, annual pap smears are important, as this is a key component in the fight against cervical and other cancers. It’s also important, especially after the age of 35 to 40, to have an annual mammogram. Mammograms are also potentially uncomfortable, but the few minutes of discomfort are worth it for the peace of mind that comes from getting the all clear. While many of our annual check ups may feel a little uncomfortable, they are vital for ensuring that our reproductive health systems are functioning well. Ask your doctor or clinic sister for more information on these important appointments, and remember: there are no silly questions when it comes to your health. If you’re concerned about your risk for breast cancer, genetic testing for BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations that highlight possible breast cancer risks, are available in South Africa.
But motherhood extends far beyond the biological, and reaches into the very heart and functioning of many women. With varied roles played throughout families and more, women take on a wide range of responsibilities in the workplace, within families and more. That’s where self care is most important so, on this Mother’s Day, even if you’re not in the receiving line for gifts, take a little time out for yourself. Indulge in a little quiet time, catch up with friends or schedule your to do list for the next few weeks.