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The Mommy Makeover

What's your favorite animal? This has always been a tricky question for me, but I have a soft spot for Free Willy and went through a heavy Orca obsession in my childhood. So my top choice are Orcas (AKA Killer Whales). Did you know they're technically dolphins?

Recently, Orcas have been making their rounds in the news for being BRILLIANT (personal opinion). Last week, they knocked rudders off boats to disable the vessels (Relax, no humans died). A few months ago, they were hunting sharks exclusively for their livers, leaving the shark carcass to wash up on shores. But my favorite story was released almost 16 years ago; an orca was teaching her calf's how to hunt. She would wait for the tides, launch onto the beach, and drag an unsuspecting sea lion back into the ocean. We now know she has taught other Orcas this same technique. There's actual footage of this phenomenon, and witnessing nature and evolution at work is marvelous.

Honestly, when I see the image of an Orca surfacing on a beach, I am inspired. The African proverb "If you educate a man, you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family (nation)" is literally being modeled to us by the animal kingdom. Orcas have matriarchal social groups, and one female decided to choose differently. After perfecting her new hunting technique, she taught the next generation. Now this unique hunting behavior has spread to other Orca family groups. The education of one became the education of a society.

The thought occurred to me, what if we applied new techniques to our current health issues in the United States? After a decade of working in disease intervention, I have learned to value the wisdom of traditional and Western medicine. There is a place for both when designing treatment plans. However, we are not only battling disease but challenging stigma and ignorance. To provide transparency, I have decided to document my health experience concerning maternal health, chronic disease, social and mental health.

So let's start our wellness journey here...

America has a severe motherhood problem, and it seems to be getting worse. Last month, Olympic champion Tori Bowie died due to labor complications (eclampsia & respiratory distress). Unfortunately, her story is not uncommon. In 2018 ProPublica and NPR reported more than 700 women die every year in this country from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. More than 50,000 suffer life-threatening complications, among the worst records for maternal health in the industrialized world. We have seen this same story affect public health officers (Shalon Irving), affluent superstars (Serena Williams & Beyonce Knowles), and our political representatives (U.S. Rep. Cori Bush).

I am sounding a call to action. We are in crisis management mode. I cannot tolerate another senseless loss. It's time we redefine motherhood and redesign our approach to maternal care. Education is not enough. Higher-income will not protect us. Not even being a healthcare expert can shield you from danger. We need ALL of these things and ACTION to combat this crisis.

So the next few blog post will relate to prioritizing maternal health. We are seeing a rise in pregnancy-related complications, which means it's time to change our approach. Whether you are expecting or planning to have a baby within the next 5 to 10 years, preparing your body should be a top priority.

We have an obligation to change how we fight this issue. The fate of our nation, our children, and our families is at risk. This is not a black or white issue, nor a liberal or conservative issue. We cannot label this as just a woman's health issue; this is a human rights crisis. Our only goal should be improving the health of our citizens at risk. When women are healthy, communities thrive. It's time to evolve.


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