Mental illness takes a significant toll on your ability to function in any job. When you're a single mom and have the added pressure of being the sole breadwinner, depression, anxiety and PTSD can cripple your ability to cope.
It was four days after my 30th birthday. Looking down at the two lines on that little stick, I knew that my life had already begun changing in so many ways. What I could not have anticipated were all of the challenges I would face in my pregnancy. Around the 30-week mark, I found out I had gestational diabetes, a disease that affects two to four per cent of all pregnancies in Canada. Although gestational diabetes is fairly common, I was devastated.
I was fortunate to have a happy, healthy childhood. I had nutritious food, a comfortable home, and an endless supply of clean water. But on World Health Day April 7, I think of children whose experiences couldn't be more different than mine.
South Sudan has been ranked the most fragile country on earth for the past two years. On a recent trip to remote Warrap State, I witnessed targeted Canadian investments improving the health of moms and babies. There are long-term, sustainable efforts to strengthen the health system taking root in South Sudan that go above and beyond much-needed emergency relief -- and they are paving the way for a better tomorrow.
I imagine there are many moms out there like me who don't want big gifts or a ton of fanfare. But they still want to feel special. I don't really want any one 'thing' for Mother's Day. This may sound sentimental, but it's the truth: I want to relive memories, I want to hear how much I mean to my family, and I want to feel loved.
On World Health Day, I feel especially protective of the millions of children around the world whose circumstances force them to consume food and water that puts their health and lives at risk. I see that the World Health Organization has picked "Food Safety" as this year's theme for the day, and can understand why.
Whether or not I give birth in Toronto, I know that both my baby and I will be well. Now it's time to give a piece of that assurance to children and mothers everywhere. No one should be uncounted or invisible. It's time to see, to count, to care.