Motherhood, Health Hazard: No. 1 Challenge Of Third World Women | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Motherhood, Health Hazard: No. 1 Challenge Of Third World Women

maternal heathcare
Posted: Apr 2, 2016 at 3:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)





As primary caregivers for their children, spouses and people around them, women often neglect their own health care needs while attending to challenges of others.  They often neglect their own wellbeing and carried away with quest to win their world from imminent abuses. If care is not taking, there is a tendency for women to ignore their health problems until things get really terrible.

However, research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their families improves.

Anthonia Duru was at an-all-women health talk on Monday where issues bothering on female-health management were raised.


It was meant to be one of the common “ladies hangouts” whereby women chats, gists and talk about issues. Indeed it was a real bash as women of value in the society celebrated one of their own, who over the years have stood for the cause of her fellow women marked her birthday on Monday, Dr. Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi, the Executive Director of Women Advocates Research and Documentation Centre (WARDC).


Akiyode-Afolabi, who disclosed she choose to organise the Gender-health talk in commemoration of her birthday base on her personal experience and experiences of other women as regards neglecting their health needs urged women to pay adequate attention to their health as this will enable them be a better caregiver.


There is no gainsaying that marriage changes everything in an individual’s life especially women but these changes occur if the individual allows such changes to take over their lives. It has been proven in some quarters that women within the rank and file of working class, try to prove themselves by working harder than their male counterparts. But this is at the cost of their health. The multi-roles of mother, sister, daughter, wife, homemaker and a worker at office force her to compress 24 hours into 12 hours. This implies that she manages most of her routine within a limited time, thereby putting herself under a lot of stress. They love to be superwomen and attempt to play perfectly all roles despite the much inconveniency. They feel guilty if any of the roles suffer and this stress contributes to infertility, heart disorder, diabetes and many diseases. They however prefer to keep mute since women often suffer in silence.

Women still get lumbered with the old stereotypes of going home cooking dinner, taking care of their spouses, cleaning and looking after the kids. Men have the option of going the gym after work and taking it easier as when they get home they know dinner will be on the table by their dutiful wives. They feel fine with no troublesome health issue and then they feel they can skip another appointment with their doctor.


In all these she often forgets to take care of her health.

“As women we are doomed to many diseases just because women are not bothered about themselves. The reality is that we women burdened ourselves with loads of responsibilities that affect our health,” Rukayat Ogunbiyi, a public Mental Health Advocate who spoke on many ills of women neglecting their health while caring for their loved ones, stressing the need for women to visit psychologists often.

She also noted that one in eight women are faced with depression because unlike men, women may have a stronger genetic predisposition to developing depression.

“By taking care of their health, women also take care of their families. But she will be more concerned about her husband and children than herself. What can work for women is not direct prescription for herself but her family.

“You must take care of yourself. Your whole self, mental health and all. 15 minutes each day, meditating, writing, or being in prayer helps,” she added.

Eniola Adeniji, a public health analyst who spoke to our reporter online explained that many women in midlife forgo a yearly physical examination. “Women’s lives are filled with the same work stressors as men, but they generally have more household and family responsibilities.

“Women find it difficult to justify using personal time for health maintenance and prevention, yet any time spent attending to health is time well spent. But women may be going relatively less as they are more caught up in multiple roles. They’re also working full-time more, and in male environments, where they have to engage in long hours and other traditionally male pursuits,” said Adeniji.

While clarifying the reason why women tend to ignore their own well-being Adeniji explained that women naturally are not self-centered.

“Most women are quite stoic about how they are feeling. They tend not to mention the trivial headache or the cold, whereas it does sometimes become a bit more of a production for men. At the end of the day, most women arrive home and continue their chores, or second job, and time flies by with no spare time for themselves. There is no doubt, that having children does change the lifestyles of many married women.”

Do men have a role to play in ensuring that their women don’t neglect their health?

Our reporter asked Oluwadamilola Ajeigbe, a mother of three and a wife for over a decade.

Her responses: “Most husbands don’t care of how their wives manage their days or their spare-time. No one is going to make your life worthwhile, and happy only you can do that for yourself. If you let your life fall, it will fall badly. If you put yourself on that pedestal you will always be on top. When raised in a neglected family with bad childhood memories, those years tend to affect your adulthood. You should not hold onto the past, and let that ruin your good self. The best is to move on and live with a clear and free mind. The lack of love and attention can make you feel alone in your world. You should not depend on your husband to make your world the rosy one, do it for yourself so don’t always expect your husband to check on your health.”

“I often feel like I am treading water and just trying to stay afloat while balancing everything. I think that surviving every single day as a working mom without pulling every hair out of my head is enough for me sometimes. For me, it’s no surprise that women forget – or even disregard – the need to take care of themselves,” Nkiru Akinola, a working mother of three who admitted she doesn’t pay much attention to her health need said.

Samuel Alore, a psychiatrist based in United Kingdom in an exclusive chat said women often feel guilty about taking time for themselves. The key he highlighted is for women to recognise the difference between being selfish in a bad way and being selfish in a healthy way. Alore acknowledged that free time is a scarcity for many women, but adds that even as little as 15 to 30 minutes a day to decompress will help.


For women to manage their health effectively, the following guidelines have been recommended by the experts:

  • Take time each year for a thorough medical checkup, including age-appropriate screenings. Doctor will recommend a mammogram, colorectal cancer screening, cholesterol profile, bone density screening and other important diagnostic tests.
  • Create a dialogue with your doctor in which you ask questions and, together, lay out health options and goals. Be sure to cover every concern, from psychological health to sexuality, to your family medical history.
  • Focus your checkup on prevention. You can help prevent heart disease, the number one killer of women, as well as cancer, stroke, emphysema and diabetes, by making healthful nutrition choices and meeting even minimum exercise guidelines.

Women should not focus on their negativity rather dwell more on their positivity.

Never feel unloved or less loved, always think you can do it and you are the best.