Being a mother is the toughest job in the world and throwing in a pandemic did not make it any easier. With the second wave coming around in India, many mothers are dealing with COVID-19 and so are their children. It isn’t easy dealing with COVID-19, when both your kids and you may have it. To discuss this further and understand how to navigate COVID-19 when mothers and their children test positive, we decided to host a Girl Tribe Sharing Circle around it. We invited Malaika Arora, Actor, Genelia Deshmukh, Actor and Producer, Diya Kapoor, Yoga Instructor, Parul Kakad, Mommy Blogger & Entrepreneur, Dr. Raashi Khatri Panjabi, MD Pain Management, Shivangi Goel, Parenting & Fitness Influencer, Dr. Salloni Pahwa, Paediatrician & Dr. Amanpreet Arora, Psychologist to share their knowledge and experience on motherhood and the coronavirus. Here is what these real-life mothers had to say about their children getting & dealing with COVID-19.
When your kids test positive for COVID-19 with you, it is normal feel guilty. To think that somehow you are at fault and have brought the virus into your home is extremely normal. Genelia said that she went through this when her young sons tested positive and it really bothered her. She said,
I kept thinking if I had I done something wrong that made them test positive? What could I have done different?
While mom-guilt is very real and common, it is important to remember that it is not your fault. Malaika, Dr. Raashi and the rest of the mothers agreed that COVID-19 is a virus that can sneak up on you even if you’ve been extremely careful. There is no point in playing the blame-game with yourself.
I felt the toughest part to be isolation. It was mentally exhausting. I had no symptoms but was still positive for 21 days and being alone was terrible.
said Genelia. Just because isolation and quarantine is a requirement for COVID-19 patients, does not mean it is easy. Being COVID-19 positive is hard and being alone makes it harder. Malaika also faced this and said,
Being in your own room is disorienting, even if it is your own space!
However, you need to remember that it is only for a few weeks and you need to be stronger, not for your sake, but for your children’s. Don’t think of it as a isolation period, but rather a recovery period, after which you will emerge stronger!
While they are just children, they understand the implications of this pandemic and the risks that comes with it. Dr. Raashi said,
Kids are fully aware of this situation and as mothers we have been subconsciously been preparing them for the worst. Kids feel like they have to take full responsibility of you and it is incredible how grown up they behave.
Parul said that her children who are very young, understood that masking up and being isolated were important. Her 5-year-old would tell others in the family to maintain distance from Parul (who was positive at the time) and knew exactly what was going on. Diya also expressed that her son was perceptive enough to fully understand how COVID-19 was affecting the world and how it would continue to as well. Malaika’s 18-year-old son assumed the role of her caregiver and did everything to make sure she was recovering well, which was a complete role-reversal for her.
Dr. Amanpreet said,
Emotions are meant to be released and not pent up inside you. As mothers we have no many thoughts running through our mind and many times they are just our own perceptions and not real. We perceive these thoughts are dangerous or stressful and our bodies and hormones will act to combat that. So it is important to release your emotions and calm yourself down.
She strongly believes that a healthy release of emotions can help you incredibly and you need to help yourself before helping your child. She suggests journaling as a healthy and easy way to do so. Taking a few minutes to write down your thoughts and fears will not just help you cope with them but also help you realise how irrational they may be. Other ways to de-stress are dancing, listening to music and meditating.
We are all aware of how COVID-19 can blur time of day and confound principles of time. It’s easy to feel aimless and disoriented, especially when you are isolated from your family and friends. Dr. Raashi said,
All the moms who are COVID positive need to have a routine and not continue to use their bed for eating, sleeping, lazing and more.
She strongly urged everyone to fix a time to eat and sleep, instill some routine in their daily life, even if it was something as small as taking a shower at the same time every day. All the moms agreed that having a routine keeps you sane and helps get through quarantine easier. Dr Salloni, however, tweaked this advice for children. She said,
When it comes to routines for your kids, be flexible. Don’t be rigid as that could lead to behaviour outbursts and frustrations. Instead of strict routines, have rituals for your children.
Children have been through a lot during this pandemic and their daily schedule has been affected and she believed that enforcing a strict new one will not help them.
All the mothers agreed that being open and honest about the situation with their children was extremely important. By telling them exactly what was going on and the implications of having COVID-19 helped them to understand it and be aware of the precautions. Shivangi said that she broke down the various aspects of COVID-19 for her kids and explained all the safety measures to them because had she not done so, their imagination would have run wild… and not in a good way. Dr Salloni, while in agreement with being honest also encouraged mothers to put a positive spin on the pandemic. She said kids are like sponges and can be negatively affected by all the sad news and stress-inducing information around them. She said,
Mothers should control the narrative and keep their kids away from negative news and headlines. They should mentally equip their kids to deal with the anxiety and stress the pandemic has brought.
All the moms agreed that while honesty is the best policy, knowing what to filter out is important too.
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