Having recently taken on the title of ‘working mum’, I’ve come to notice a trend among those of us who wear this badge; we are pretty good at putting others first! How often do you double-check the kids faces are clean only to walk out of the house in mismatching shoes? Or prepare a special meal for the baby only to find yourself picking at the leftovers for lunch? Mothers are a hard-working bunch but maybe we are a wee bit slack when it comes to self-care.
Generally, women are more likely to suffer from nutrient deficiencies – due to a number of reasons – but mainly during our childbearing years when we’re dealing with monthly blood loss, childbirth and breastfeeding, on repeat.
Take iron as an example. One in 14 New Zealand women are low in iron (according to the last national nutrition survey) and with this in mind, it’s no wonder a few ladies in our office have experienced iron deficiency themselves at various stages in their lives. Poor eating habits during adolescence and some methods of birth control have impacted our iron status but the main factor that keeps coming up in conversation is pregnancy.
Pregnancy takes a toll on our iron status but it’s what comes after that we need to focus on – motherhood. Symptoms of iron deficiency are easy to ignore when you have others to look out for before yourself. Feeling fatigued? Blame it on the sleepless nights. Irritable? The never-ending washing piles. Can’t concentrate; feel the cold easily; or suffer frequent infections? It’s just the new normal.
So, how can we start putting ourselves first?