RAISING a child is more than just taking care of their physical needs. As a parent, it is also our responsibility to nurture through growth with love and care, and to show tough love and discipline when needed.
So we do all we that can to be the model parents, keeping our children healthy and protected from illness or dangers. We plan ahead for baby’s every need, whether nutrition, health and shelther. While both parents play a part in the road to prepare for baby’s arrival, most of the weight of bringing the baby safely to this world lies on the mother-to-be.
There are some defining moments throughout the nine month journey and beyond that can leave a lasting effect on a woman in her role as a mother. It could be jitters leading up to the safe delivery of the baby, or dealing with the symptoms of morning sickness and swollen feet that no one but another mother can fully understand.
Overcoming Pre-Pregnancy Jitters
Carrying a life within her, the expectant mother is advised to do more of this and do less of that, or eat this and avoid that, all so that she stays healthy for her baby. The mother-to-be who has been living a healthy life before pregnancy will have sound sleep at night knowing her body is at its best to nurture baby in the womb. But the mom-to-be who has a health condition has more to go through.
In the case of Sydney Wan, she considers herself blessed that she could conceive, as she has an ovarian cyst. Ovarian cysts could be a sign of endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome, which may affect the chances of conceiving a child (www.pennmedicine.org). Wan is still anxious about her baby's development, having just gone into her second trimester of pregnancy. "One thing that helps to relieve my anxiety are my monthly medical checkups, which help to assure me that baby is doing fine," she says, gently patting her growing belly.
The Case of the Yellow Fever
After the birth of a child, some new parents may face jaundice as their first parenting challenge. Jaundice is a medical condition that commonly affects some newborns, as their organs are unable to get rid of excess bilirubin efficiently. Bilirubin is a yellow substance made when the body breaks down old red blood cells, and leaves the body through urine and stool (www.webmd.com). During this time, the baby may experience yellowing of the skin or of the white of the eyes.
In rare cases, the incompatibility between a mother's and her baby’s blood types (Rh incompatibility) could cause severe jaundice. The most common RH incompatibility are occurences where the mother-to-be has type O blood and the baby has A, B or AB blood type, which causes the antibodies in the mother’s blood to affect the baby.
That is the worry that Faqihah Abdul Aziz has on her mind. Faqihah is 37 weeks pregnant and has O-positive blood type. “I know that this is not something that I can control, so I’ve done a lot of research on jaundice and its treatment. I also read that goat’s milk could help to prevent it, so I’m drinking it regularly,” she says.
Her worries are also alleviated as jaundice is not harmful and most cases usually see recovery in two weeks. In very mild cases, paedetricians will not prescribe phototherapy for the affected baby and let it run its course.
For Yew Ai Vee whose baby girl experienced mild jaundice after birth, she took to the traditional method of bringing her baby under the sun to treat it. "I brought her outdoors for a couple of days to treat her jaundice. I made sure that it was in the morning sun before 8am or so, where the air is still a little cooling from sunrise,” she says. The experience left her feeling more confident of her role as a mother.
Living with Autism or ADHD
For some parents, the challenge of raising a child in their toddler phase becomes more challenging if they have a learning or health condition. Young children with Autism and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) pose steep learning and growing curves for both the parents and the child.
Children as young as three can begin to exhibit symptoms of ADHD, which may come across as kids being kids – hyperactive, easily excited and easily distracted. ADHD affects the learning ability of a child and currently affects 3.9% of Malaysian children. Autism meanwhile is characterised by developmental disorders such as difficulty in communicating and building relationship with others, that adversely affects a child’s ability to learn and grow in a social setting. It is thought to affect one in 600 children in Malaysia.
There is currently no cure for either ADHD or Autism, but there are avenues for treatment, education and medication that can help the child.
A Learning Curve
As with any new life experiences, being a parent is a unique journey with every milestone worth celebrating – the first step, the first tantrum, the first word spoken. You won’t always be prepared for everything the parenting journey brings your way, but the little joys will make up for it.
AIA is the first in Malaysia to cover the autism spectrum along with ADHD. Policy
holders of A-Life Lady 360 can secure coverage for their baby before 14 weeks into
the pregnancy without underwriting through A-Life Joy. A-Life Joy offers extensive
coverage for infants including phototherapy treatment for neonatal jaundice within the
child’s first 60 days. To find out more, visit AIA (www.aia.com.my/en/our-products/a-
requirements, full waiting period and any applicable period for the exclusion of specific illnesses/ pre-existing conditions for your plan.
This article is brought to you by AIA.