Our moms + caregivers often help us find the best care possible, but when finding care for themselves they can face gender inequities that make it hard to access. This Mother’s Day, let us all take care of our mothers, wives, aunties, matriarchs, Elders, + caregivers by investing in their health so that one day, inequities will be a thing of the past.
Marissa Kingzett, BCWHF Manager, Community Partnerships, spoke with Dee de los Santos, BC Women’s Health Foundation’s Young Women’s Council Ambassador + Mom, to hear about how her mom, Mila, has inspired her to be an advocate for women’s health.
Marissa: Why is your mom your Mother’s Day hero?
Dee: My mom has worked tirelessly in BC’s healthcare system for over 30 years to give my sister and myself a good shot at life. She was an immigrant to the country, leaving all she knew from her small town in the Philippines to come here. For my entire life, she has been so selfless and gives all that she can to her family.
M: How has your mom inspired you to support women’s health?
D: My mom struggled with the healthcare system and the fact that many professionals didn’t believe her pain – particularly when she was pregnant.
As I watched some of the inequities she faced, I wanted to be an advocate for women’s health – so that professionals would believe a woman when she said she was in pain and realize that not everyone’s pain tolerance was the same, that her experiences were worthy of further investigation. I wanted others to know that their struggles would not go unnoticed and that we, as the next generation of mothers, would help set down the path where inequities would be a thing of the past.
M: Today, you are mom yourself! How has becoming a mother shaped the way that you view health + wellbeing?
D: Being a new mom comes with a steep learning curve – one thing that really stalled for me was putting my health and wellbeing first. But in order to be a present mother, especially for my son who required surgery in the first couple months of life, I needed to take time to myself, meditate and seek help when I needed it.
For a while, my own health took a backseat as I focused solely on my son’s recovery – but because of this, I got very ill – so ill that I was in the hospital for a week without my son who was only a couple months old. I told myself if I was able to get out of the hospital, I would prioritize my health so that I could be there for my son whenever he needed me. A healthy mom means a happy family.
M: What would you like to see in the future for women’s health for yourself and future generations?
D: I would love to see health professionals of all different identities supporting their patients wholeheartedly. I want more funding into women’s research so that no child would have to lose their mother too early in life, and improve the entire family’s life as a whole.
Thank you Dee for taking time to share your story with us, and Mila for inspiring + raising a women’s health champion like her! You can stay in touch with Dee by following her on Instagram, @deedls.
Women not only hold most healthcare roles, but they also hold the majority of care responsibilities within families and communities. This Mother’s Day, join us in celebrating these everyday heroes and care for those that care for you by investing in their health with BC Women’s Health Foundation and our incredible community partners.
And from all of us at BC Women’s Health Foundation, thank you to the moms + caregivers who care for us + our community!