pregnantFor most women, pregnancy is one of the most joyful times of their lives. But for Amy Hansen, that joy was mixed with fear and confusion. Hansen, at 29, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer just weeks after learning she was expecting. After undergoing chemotherapy during her second trimester, she and her adorable baby son, Gavin, are, thankfully, fine. But Hansen and her family have her pregnancy to thank for finding the cancer as early as they did. Just five days after she learned she was pregnant, Amy went to the emergency room with abdominal pain. A cyst was discovered, which was drained and then removed weeks later; then a pathology report eventually showed ovarian cancer.

If she didn't have someone other than herself to worry about, Amy may not have ever gone to the doctor. "I may not have paid attention to the symptoms I was having if I didn't know I was pregnant," she said. Her husband added, "The fact that we found it so early because of Gavin was a miracle. He really did save her life. That's a pretty neat story to tell him. If we didn't have him, she might never have known until it was too late."

Like all women, Amy was more diligent and careful and nurturing to her body when she was pregnant, which, of course, is incredibly important. But why do we stop doing that once we give birth?

Perhaps it's biology and our mama bear instinct taking over, but when we're pregnant, we treat our bodies like temples (AKA, like how we should all the time). We drink lots of water; eschew caffeine and alcohol; nourish ourselves with fresh, healthy food. Maybe we do yoga or get a massage? And when we feel like something is "off," we head straight to the doctor. There's no "I'll wait and see" mentality that most of us typically subscribe to. Compared to the "normal" way many of us live, it sounds so luxurious, and maybe even a little self-indulgent, but really, it's just taking care of ourselves. Of course, it's extra important when we're pregnant, as another person's life is at stake; but stomach pains should definitely be a reason to see the doctor postpartum, as well. And not just for yourself; for your child's sake.

Taking care of ourselves isn't always easy -- I don't know many moms who manage to fit in weekly yoga and daily fresh-pressed juices -- but at the very least, we as mothers should go to the doctor when we feel something is wrong. Get checked out, as we would when we were expecting. In so many words, we should live each day as if we were pregnant. Because, like Amy Hansen, you never know. It could wind up saving your life.

Do you regularly go to the doctor if something feels off? Did you treat your body better while you were pregnant?

 

Image via Frank De Kleine/Flickr