It’s Sunday morning and as I’m writing this. I’m sipping my coffee in my recliner while my messy-haired 4- and 2-year-old gulp down chocolate milk from their Mickey Mouse cups and zone out on The Lion King. Our lab pup lazily gnaws on a bone near me, and the 34-week baby in my belly kicks and hiccups now and then to remind me of her presence.
My husband is getting ready to head out the door to do rounds on his patients at the hospital, his weekend duty as a resident anesthesiologist. All in all, anyone close to us would note that it sounds like a normal, peaceful weekend for the Pontikes family.
However, like millions of other global citizens, my daughters and I haven’t left the house in many days. It’s been 46 days to be exact. I should re-word that. We have ventured out for some food and drinks, as well as grocery pick-up, but we have not left the car on those ventures. We’ve been doing our part to help minimize the spread of COVID-19.
I am the mother of two small children, 34 weeks pregnant and married to a frontline worker. There are some physician specialties more likely to be exposed to this virus, and my husband is one of them. As an anesthesiologist, one of his main job requirements is to intubate patients for surgeries in order to maintain a functioning airway. When this intubation occurs, it actually creates an aerosol effect by spraying whatever germs are in the airway directly into the face of the anesthesiologist. Without proper protective gear, these doctors are inevitably exposed.
Did I mention I’m 34 weeks pregnant?
What’s it like to be married to a front line physician while at home with two littles and pregnant during a pandemic? It’s about as fun as you can imagine. I’ve been constantly leaning into my own mother’s reminder to never borrow worry.
Like so many of my fellow mommas out there with husbands still lucky enough to work, some days are full of joy and gratitude and some are filled with irritation, suffocation, heaviness and loneliness. It’s hard to be a caregiver 24/7, to get zero “alone time,” to feel guilty complaining to your spouse who is experiencing the first-hand stress of the virus while you’re safely at home. It’s hard to use this time to “grow” when we as parents get minimal room, time and space for it.
So many of us are struggling. In fact, I believe that 100 percent of people are battling with the highs and lows of social distancing as well as the fear of a global pandemic. We all have unique situations, and they’re ALL hard.
Instead of focusing on the struggles and fears that are out of our control, zeroing in on the beauty and courage of humanity each day has been uplifting. I want to take a moment to express gratitude to as many groups of people as I can think of. You’re seen, you’re heard, and you’re appreciated.
- Thank you to health care professionals working hard to keep us safe.
- Thank you to citizens doing their part to stay home.
- Thank you to spouses of physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists and all healthcare workers at the hospitals.
- Thank you to military personnel and their spouses.
- Thank you to essential workers pulling themselves out of bed each morning.
- Thank you to nonessential workers who are extremely important to our economy and mental health and are struggling for the greater good.
- Thank you churches for providing online guidance and community.
- Thank you to grocery workers who are under-protected and under-appreciated.
- Thank you to teachers for ALWAYS being flexible and working to nourish the minds and hearts of our youth no matter what.
- Thank you to the kids who are dealing with all of us adults and loving us through it.
- Thank you to the grandparents who are bored and lonely and just want to see their sweet grandbabies.
- Thank you to the parents of babies who are trying to soak in each minute but for whom the days are feeling even longer now.
- Thank you to the high school and college seniors who are missing precious moments and experiences this year.
- Thank you to the parents of littles who are diffusing arguments, teaching and trying to still take care of their own mental health.
- Thank you to the couples who are finding a new balance of being together more often.
- Thank you to our local, national and world leaders who are trying to navigate this unknown territory.
My heart is full because thanks to all of you, my family remains healthy. My children are healthy, my baby is healthy, my husband is healthy and I am healthy. The collective selflessness and struggles of so many HAVE made a difference, and for that my family thanks you.
We’re all in this together.
Madi Pontikes is an early childhood educator, personal trainer and the creator and owner of Move by Madi. She creates workouts that fit into the modern mom’s daily routine, sheds light on the real aspects of healthy living and parenting and is passionate about promoting a mindset of loving your body for what it CAN do. Connect with Madi on Instagram @movebymadi or movebymadi.com.