Did you know that every month has an observation or a specific awareness dedicated to that month? January actually has several. But I wanted to shed some light on Birth Defects Prevention. I wish I would have known about this particular observation before now. You see, this month’s awareness subject is very close to my heart because I was born with a birth defect.
I’m not sure if anyone notices, or would even ask me about it, but I was born with a cleft lip. Thankfully I was born in Montana, in an area which happened to be the leading center for repairing cleft lips and pallets. I’m sure there are even better facilities (and care) available now, but back in the late 80s, I was blessed to be where I was. Now, it’s only slightly noticeable and doesn’t interfere with anything but my appearance.
Not everyone has access to the type of care I received or has an easily fixed birth defect that doesn’t interfere with their daily living. That’s why bringing awareness to the different birth defects is so important. This is a month when we can join together as a nation, and learn about these birth defects, their causes and their impact. Every January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) help raise awareness among women and families on actions they can take to help have a healthy baby. It’s also a time to recognize those living with birth defects. There are several ways we can help spread the word.
Join the CDC’s “Thunder Clap”
Thunderclap is a social media tool that encourages supporters to sign up and share a unified message at a specific time through their Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr accounts. This unified action will create a wave of support across social media. And we all know how powerful social media can be! The Thunderclap will go live on January 10 at noon. This collective message will encourage others to join in an effort to help raise awareness about birth defects and make a difference. Click HERE to sign up!
Share Your #1in33 Story
Do you or someone you know live with a birth defect? Share your story of how it has affected your life. You never know who will be inspired or encouraged by what you have gone through. To participate, create an original picture or video and share on social media with the tag #1in33.
Share How You #Prevent2Protect
The choices we make now are important for our own health, but also for the health of the children we may hope to have. As a mother, I take this responsibility very seriously. It’s easier to implement healthier habits from the start, then to try and revert from years of poor nutrition and practices. Obviously, not all birth defects can be prevented, but there are some steps that can be taken to help have a healthy pregnancy.
Preventing infections that are harmful to you and/or your developing baby, are one of the ways you can start. Share your plan to prevent infection during pregnancy by creating an original picture or video and post it on your social media channels with the tag #Prevent2Protect.
I think it’s very important, and our responsibility as mothers, to try to the best of our ability to help our children in any and every capacity we can. No one desires for their child to be born with a handicap, but that’s just not the reality of the world we live in. That’s not to say we don’t love our children as they are, but it does make life more difficult and at the very least challenging. We can’t control everything, but if you could prevent your child from having a birth defect, wouldn’t you do everything in your power to?
You might be wondering if, since I was born with a cleft lip, if either of my children was born with one? The answer is no. That leads me to believe that my defect was NOT genetic, and could have possibly been prevented. I have no proof or medical training to confirm this, but I do know that I had a healthy lifestyle both before and during my entire pregnancy. I exercised daily, got vaccinated, ate fairly healthy and made sure to take my prenatal vitamins daily (and a full month before conceiving). Birth defects start in the womb (unless genetic); do everything you can to help give your child a head start on a healthy life. Help spread the word that January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and share your experiences on your social media channels!