Before we continue on with this article, I need to let one giant humblebrag escape from my system: I have an amazing relationship with my mum. We’re inseparable – OK, we are literally separable considering we now live some 9,929 miles away from each other. But we’ve remedied this situation by ensuring that my proverbial umbilical cord can, in fact, stretch from her iPhone across the Pacific Ocean to my own.
We send each other ridiculous, unnecessary and downright bizarre text messages on the daily with the following being one of my favourites from recent memory: “I had a dream that there was a lizard living in my bathtub. What do you think that means?”
Candice and her mum. Image: supplied.
While decoding the meaning of nightmarish-lizards is important (FYI I still don’t know what my subconscious is trying to communicate?!), mum and I also decided to put together a series of essential bucket-list conversations to be ticked off as each milestone presents itself.
Here’s what we’ve listed so far.
1. Who should pay on the first date?
I’m not sure if it was the wisest of decisions to take dating advice from someone who had been out of the game for over twenty years. But per my mum’s instructions, on the first date with my now-husband, we split the bill 50/50.
In hindsight, I now realise that perhaps my mum’s advice was more a lesson in relationships and the principles of equality than it was about whether I should pay for my own pork and chive dumplings.
She’s clever like that.
2. Are you at risk of breast cancer?
Not too long ago, I felt a lump in my left breast. It felt like a frozen pea lodged under my skin and I couldn’t remember whether it had always been a part of me or if it had suddenly grown and taken shape in previous months. I dreaded telling mum about it, maybe because I knew she would respond with a barrage of questions I didn’t know how to answer: “When did this happen?” “How long have you known?” “Have you been to the doctor?”
The entire event motivated a much-needed conversation about our potential risk and family history - there’s nothing like being confronted with mortality itself to force a conversation that most of us would rather push to that primal section of the brain that aches to touch. Together we learnt the steps we needed to take to be in control of our breast and ovarian health – including the different detection methods available based on our risk profile. We assessed our risk profile using an online risk calculator and spoke about what factors contribute to or develop your risk profile - dense breasts, family history of breast or ovarian cancer, certain inherited genes etc.
Thankfully, I was lucky - the lump was nothing to be feared. But I’m now more aware than ever and will head immediately to the doctor if this happens another time.
"Women are kind, smart and strong. That's what makes them beautiful." Image: Pexels.
3. When did you start to use night cream?
From an early age my mum would remind me again and again and again that women are not ‘beautiful.’ Instead, they are intellect, they are kindness, they are strength, they are power — and that’s what makes them beautiful.
But considering the fact that scientists should probably be studying my mum’s skin it’s so damn impressive, I have to add this topic to our bucket-list (and I might even need to add night cream to my shopping list).
4. When did you know you wanted to have children?
Allow me to rephrase the above subheading. It should read something like: choosing whether to have children, at what age, with who, what is this thing called ‘trying,’ do you really avoid soft cheese when pregnant, how about alcohol, c-section or vaginal birth, drugs or no drugs, one child or two or three or four?
I’m yet to have children of my own but from the outside looking in, well, motherhood (and everything that precedes it) looks messy - incredible, but messy. And I’m going to need to talk about it.
5. Imagine you’re my age again. What advice would you give to yourself?
OK, this is a goodie - I need to pick up the phone and immediately ask this of my mum. I’d like to think she’d say something along the lines of, “In the grand scheme of things, you’re still an embryo. Oh, and just buy those silver boots you’ve been lusting after.”
What important conversations have you had with your mum/daughter?
Pink Hope is a preventative health organisation working to ensure every individual can assess, manage and reduce their risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Pink Hope also provides personalised support for at-risk women.
The generous support of partners takes us a step closer to the day where breast cancer is a thing of the past and until then helps us ensure every Australian woman knows her risk and has the power to change her future based on that knowledge.