Women in White Coats, I hope you all had a much-deserved celebration on Mother’s Day with your near and dear ones. This Mother’s Day was a time of great reflection for me and I have especially been thinking of you all.
It has been over a year of dealing with a pandemic, profound zoom fatigue, homeschooling, in addition to all your other duties of doctor, caregiver, homemaker, wife, and mom.
So take a deep breath! No one would fault you if you were not at your best self. It is okay to be frustrated, feel a little down on occasion, and not always be energetic and accomplished. It is okay to let some things go. The housework and dinner can often be outsourced, and the kids can usually manage to get their homework done and submitted. Always ask for help when needed and prioritize what needs to be done and what can wait.
As women doctors who often work long days, nights, and weekends, it is easy to doubt our mothering skills. We often feel we are neglecting our children and missing out on so many precious moments. Trust me; I have been there. They will be okay. Of course, it is essential to start early in negotiating and building a balanced work-life schedule.
Fortunately, for some women doctors who could cut back or do some telemedicine and work from home, this has resulted in more incredible bonding time with their families and children. We have also had opportunities to spend more time cooking together, reading together and pursuing outdoor pastimes, going for long walks and hiking.
However, some have had a different year. Many have lost jobs, something unheard of before, or have had to cut down to part-time work. This has resulted in loss of income and financial instability for many women and their families. Many women doctors are also dealing with the long-haul symptoms of Covid themselves and the post-traumatic stress of seeing lives lost.
This Mother’s Day also reminded me that mothering can be different for everyone and can come from various sources. I thought of my dearly beloved aunt, who I just recently lost to the pandemic crisis in India. Everyone has seen or heard of the catastrophic suffering that is unfolding there, and hardly a family has been immune.
The Indian- American diaspora here is suffering as well. Many have lost at least one, if not more relatives, to this unprecedented second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
As an immigrant with ties to India, the pain is compounded by lost time with family members, birthdays and occasions, weddings missed, and memories that were never made. This is, of course, true for all immigrants who leave their families and the country of their birth behind looking for a better life in the United States. Please look for ways to help in this humanitarian crisis and keep everyone in your prayers.
May is designated as Asian/Pacific Islander heritage month. Let us celebrate all that Asian Americans contribute to and sacrifice for the nation in various spheres, including the field of nursing and medicine. We need to unite and #StopAsianHate.
I am optimistic that the global context will be much more cheery for next Mother’s Day . Vaccinations are bringing great hope for a brighter tomorrow. Till then we should celebrate every little win and cherish every moment of motherhood.
Dr. Anupama Verma is the Editor-in-Chief of the Women in White Coats blog and a CoAuthor of “The Chronicles of Women in White Coats book two. She is a nephrologist who has been practicing for more than fifteen years and has lived on four continents.