Author: Tiffany Jensen, Pima Community College
I am a pandemic mother. I have nursed newborn babies, wiped snotty noses, and cleaned vomit out of my hair. I have held my child’s hand while they had a tooth pulled and slipped money underneath their pillows when they have lost baby teeth. I have held them when they cried, wiped their blood from their wounds, and kissed the boo boo away after it was cleaned. I have rushed them to the ER for dehydration and watched them get an IV to fix it, and that was nothing compared to this pandemic.
I am supposed to go through all of that with each of my children, only to be threatened by a microscopic virus. At the beginning they said it is covered in spikes and more transmissible than any flu virus. I made light of it all at first, and made the necessary adjustments and took safety precautions at work. It did not take long for everything to escalate quickly and it started taking lives.
The most terrifying part of all of it was being a mother. I am grateful that children were not as susceptible to the virus, but it didn’t make them any less terrified of catching it at school. Fear turned to isolation for them. They were shut off from everything they knew and loved about the world that you could not find at home. Nothing could have prepared any of us for what came next.
My husband and I were married in the summer of 2020, outside in the heat. We figured if something like this was going to happen to us, we wanted to make sure that we were married to protect our rights to each other and our assets for our children. Two days after our wedding, we were both laid off from our jobs. Now on top of the pandemic, we faced economic hardship.
We were in pretty positive spirits considering everything until we lost a very dear friend of ours to the virus. I was pregnant at the time of my wedding and also lost that baby at 16 weeks gestation. We found out at a private ultrasound company that there was no heartbeat because my husband was not allowed in the room for my regular OB appointment. I had to go into the ER to have them confirm the loss…alone. I had to go into the ultrasound to confirm no heartbeat…alone. I had to get wheeled into surgery…alone. Thanks for those restrictions Covid-19, you made a stronger woman out of me.
I somehow weirdly felt lucky compared to people who had to say goodbye to their family members dying of Covid over a phone call. I had to go home after all of it and face the never ending challenges of motherhood afterwards. My children pulled me from the pit of despair. I had all of them to keep me going. Then began the roller coaster ride of emotions and Covid scares that has led us to now. Somehow the vomit, the snotty noses, and blood seem trivial now.
Did you know that you can still get a cold or flu during the pandemic? The first time it happened I braced myself for the fear and paranoia from the rest of my kids when my son came home with a stuffy nose. Negative Covid tests cause happy dances. A vaccination that only adults can get is helpful, but also not when it is not ready to protect your little kids yet. I became pregnant again and was terrified of losing another baby. Like a true rainbow in the storm, I had the most perfect little baby girl. I will never forget the flood of emotions when she was born and the relief when she was healthy. She was born during a spike in RSV in newborns. RSV season has nothing on me. Colds and flus can meet me in the playground after school because I am a pandemic mother.
I have seen, heard, done, cried, dealt with it all and I am a warrior for it. These hands have healed, comforted, and wrinkled more for it. These eyes have witnessed fear, paranoia, loneliness, growth, coping, and the resiliency of children. This body has conquered the tragedy of death and the miracle of life. I am not just a mother any more than Wonder Woman is just a woman. I am an upgraded, bonafide, tried and true, different breed version of a mother. I am a pandemic mother also known as mom.