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Who can stay "heart healthy" when they're trapped inside looking at a blanket of snow? Hey, unplug the snow blower and get out your shovel... or better yet, grab a sled and revel in it! In all seriousness, we wish our friends across the preeclampsia universe warm cups of hot cocoa. And for those in the warmer climes, yours truly included, there will be no boasting about too much sunshine!
Thanks to St. Valentine's Day, February has been embued with images of hearts and emotions. The women's heart movement has adopted the month and we would be wise to pay heed to those healthy heart messages. After all, preeclampsia survivors - particularly repeat offenders - have double the risk of developing heart disease in the next 5 to 15 years of our lives. If your physician hasn't asked you about your pregnancy history, make sure you let her or him know all about your pregnancies - the good, the bad and the ugly. It matters.
See our newest brochure, Preeclampsia and Heart Disease, to learn more about how significant your pregnancy history is to your future heart health. And if you were waiting for the right reason to lose weight, eat right and start exercising and haven't found the mirror shouting at you, then look at your family and tell yourself that they are worth it.
As for the emotions related to February, we're debuting a new feature this month - Writing Heals - in our Community Forum So many preeclampsia survivors have found solice, meaning, analysis and even life-long missions through the writing process. Following my own perinatal loss, I stumbled upon an all-day workshop called "Writing Through Loss" that gently and yet purposefully led me through one of the most healing parts of my grief journey. Ty Allen explains this new project and leads us to this special place to post your poems, essays or freeform thoughts, all part of the healing process.
This past month we were saddened by another mother lost to preeclampsia. Kristin Coker, of Tennessee died of post-partum eclampsia after giving birth to her beautiful little girl Ruby Evelyn. If that makes you sad, or more appropriately, mad, please take a few minutes to fill out our Advocacy Survey [survey now closed]. What's the connection? Among the many issues we must grapple with is the lack of accurate data about maternal and perinatal deaths in the US. We know these numbers are under-reported. A very few states have tackled this problem, and then gone beyond to not just ask "How many are really dying?" but "Why?" and "What can we do about it?" We, as an organization of emboldened patients, must also ask those and other equally challenging questions. Answers from our Advocacy survey will help us allocate resources and attention to the most important issues that matter to you. Please let us hear your voice.
With that, warm up the hot chocolate, shovel a few more feet of snow, love your family and luxuriate in a moment of knowing that there's a huge "family" who cares deeply about your concerns and experiences with preeclampsia. And, as always, I'd love to hear your feedback. How did you use writing or any other techniques to heal from your preeclampsia experience?
International Society for the study of Hypertension in Pregnancy
October 23, 2016
San Paulo, Brazil