There is a special breed of Mamas known as Healthcare Mamas. We all know one: she’s a nurse, a doctor, a respiratory therapist, a physical therapist, a medical assistant, etc.
I am a Healthcare Mama. I have always felt my career as a nurse practitioner and my role as a mother to two little ones have coexisted smoothly. Most Healthcare Mamas, or someone raised by a Healthcare Mama, will likely agree on a couple of things: You’ll never get by with faking illness or wellness…Mama knows (she always knows), and Mama never takes you to the doctor for anything other than dismemberment or life threatening illness. (I’m kidding…kind of.)
I truly feel like my medical career has been a blessing to my family, but if I’m being honest, that didn’t feel true last year at the start of the pandemic.
At the onset of COVID-19 — when many healthcare providers were doing their job without appropriate personal protective equipment and so much was unknown about COVID-19 and the future of the healthcare system in general — I felt guilt that my family had to endure the added risk and stress of me working in healthcare. I know I wasn’t alone in those thoughts. I had conversations with many of my fellow healthcare friends about the fear that we would “bring it home” to our family. Some healthcare providers working in high-risk environments even made the hard decision to isolate themselves from their family.
But almost a year later, look at us Healthcare Mamas: we did it and we’re still doing it.
As we reflect on the past year of this pandemic, I think many healthcare workers will agree that we owe so much heartfelt thanks to our families and friends. To our spouses and partners, thank you so much for every extra task or chore you took off our plate. Thank you for the times you let us rest a little longer, go to bed a little earlier, or gave us the silence we sometimes craved. Thank you for recognizing the added stress we were under. Thank you for hearing our fears and listening to our first-hand accounts of how ugly this virus can be. Thank you for never regretting that you chose to share your life with someone that works in healthcare.
To our children, thank you so much for never doubting how much we love you. Your resilience has been inspiring. I’m sure a pandemic is confusing and scary to a child. Thank you for letting Mama be honest when she told you she was often unsure and concerned as well. Thank you for trying to adjust and learn despite the changes in your schooling. Whether we navigated the world of online learning together or had our first experience in back-to-school mask shopping, you rolled with the punches. Thank you for learning that you can’t hug or kiss Mama until she takes a shower and changes her clothes after work. This was hard for Mama too. Thank you for knowing somehow, in your own little way, that Mama is new to the world of COVID-19 too.
Thank you to our friends and family for the love and prayers. Thank you for the grace you offered us at the unreturned calls and texts. Thank you for understanding when we forgot your birthday or anniversary. Thank you to our employers. Thank you for working tirelessly to get us the N95 masks, the hand sanitizer, the gloves — all the things we needed to do our job safely. Thank you for changing policies and protocols to keep staff and patients safe. Thank you for everything you did to keep your doors open for the people who needed you.
Have you ever had moments where you get this little feeling that you’re doing exactly what you came here to do? I have these often as a mother. Over the past year, I’ve experienced this multiple times in my professional life as well. This past year was full of unknown, stressful, hard and even scary times, but it feels good to be a part of a large community that showed up and did what was needed.