In Family, Women's Health

Mother’s Day has many different origins:

  • The second Sunday of May became Mother’s Day in America in 1914 after Anna Jarvis started campaigning for it when her mother died. She didn’t have children but wanted mothers to be honoured. Like most countries, in South Africa, we also have Mother’s Day on this Sunday.
  • In the UK it is known as Mothering Sunday. It began in 16th century as a religious holiday on the fourth Sunday of Lent, exactly 3 weeks before Easter Sunday.
  • In Indonesia, 22 December 1982 is the day a Women’s Congress was formed to fight for equal rights. It officially became a public holiday in 1953 although celebration is more about the women’s movement, the 22 December is also known as Mother’s Day.

Though there are many different origins for this day of celebration, they all have one focus – Mothers. We all know that Mother’s Day should not be the only day that we take a moment to think about and celebrate our mothers. We should be celebrating them every day. Ok, it might not be flowers, a long lie or breakfast in bed every single day but just a thought and some gratitude for their role in bringing you into this world would do.

What we don’t realise is that, as mothers, we need to also be thinking about ourselves every day too!

Today reminded me about a talk that Greg did for a group of Toastmasters in 2013. The title of the talk was ‘Now Is the Time To Be Selfish’.

In a muffled voice, he started giving the safety briefing you’ve heard many times if you’ve ever flown in an aeroplane. He said that most of us ignore the briefing because we’re heard it so often or because the thought of having to use the information they give you is frightening and easier to disregard.

One piece of information they give you in the safety demonstration is useful though. “In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling panel above you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head and breathe normally. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask first and then assist the other person.”

The point of this talk was to highlight that we cannot give from an empty cup. We must look after our own health and well-being to help others.

There are many mothers who bring their children into our practice and want their children to thrive but are not looking after themselves. When we ask the mother when will she be coming in to get checked her reply is normally “I don’t have time to look after myself” or “My children’s health is more important”. Now, as a mother, I can totally understand this; you want the best for your children. You also want to be there to enjoy the special moments in your child’s life and not be a burden on them. But how can you do this if you do not look after your own self? Why does your life have any less value than theirs?

Having just become a mother for the second time, today has been a reminder to me that I must take care of myself first to look after my family. The narrative of a mother sacrificing herself and her well-being for the good of her family is fatally flawed.

Firstly, our children learn from our actions – we role model for them. By showing them that we need to suffer for the sake of their well-being, we ultimately set them up to repeat our mistakes. By looking after ourselves we set a better example for our kids. They will have a better template to follow for their lives and their families if we take the time to look after ourselves.

Secondly, our best bet for raising a fulfilled family is to be fulfilled ourselves. In the words of my husband, “Fulfilment comes in many shapes and sizes but ‘martyr’ is not one of them.” Our job as parents is not to perfect our children, but to provide them a platform on which they can seek their own life of significance. By choosing to empower ourselves, we empower them to express their full potential.

The biggest change I’ve made in my life that allows me to look after my family was to start Chiropractic care as a teenager and continue to be checked regularly. Making Chiropractic the centre-point of my vitalistic lifestyle has given me the chance to trust my body, to let it express health and to allow me to discover new ways of experiencing a bigger life.

I am not a Chiropractic advocate because my husband is a Chiropractor, I’m an advocate because Chiropractic helped me save my life.

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