doctorThis is National Women's Health Week, what are you doing to celebrate? Wait, what? You didn't even know there was such a week? Yeah, it wasn't marked in red on my calendar either. Not because I don't think women's health deserves its own week, but because in the busy scheme of life, it's an easy one to overlook -- just like many of us overlook our own health. 

Let's see, my daughter is almost 2 1/2, and I last saw a doctor six weeks after she was born ... so it's been more than two years since I've had a checkup. Yikes! Throughout years of infertility, a couple miscarriages, and two pregnancies, I used to see doctors constantly. But once my children came, my visits waned -- at least to MY doctor.

When it comes to my children, I feel like I should rent my own chair in the pediatrician's waiting room, I'm there so often. I have their every symptom evaluated, my every concern addressed, and wouldn't dream of missing a recommended checkup.

With myself, however, I tend to take more of a wait-and-see approach -- wait and see if I can't get out of bed, and if I can manage that, it's probably not so serious. Awful I know, and I always pledge to be better, but then ...

The theme for this year's National Women's Health Week is "It's Your Time," and organizers encourage women to make their health a priority. Among the steps they encourage women to take to do so are the following:

  • Getting at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical activity, or a combination of both, each week
  • Eating a nutritious diet
  • Visiting a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings
  • Avoiding risky behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seat belt
  • Paying attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress

I'd say I'm doing pretty well on about half of them. I love to exercise, don't smoke, and I'd never dream of not wearing a seat belt. My diet is nutritious-ish, but when it comes to getting checkups and getting enough sleep and managing stress, I need to do some work -- a lot of work in those areas.

There are events across the country to get you pumped about making some of the changes you may need to, and plenty of resources to help you along the way. But in the end, it's got to be up to you, to make you a priority.

Have you put your health on a back burner since having children?


Image via Truthout.org