Mother's Day 2021: Doctor moms talk about their challenges amid pandemic
This year, Mother's Day is being celebrated on May 9. With the country fighting the second wave of the virus, a few mother doctors share their experiences and talk about the things this time is teaching them.
Mother's Day, which is an annual celebration honouring maternal bonds, is held on various days in many parts of the world. Amid the pandemic, there are women doctors who have been working and pacifying their patients ushering a new life into this world amidst the chaos, all the while dealing with their own fears, and staying away from their precious little ones at home.
This Mother's Day, commemorating the occasion to celebrate this spirit of motherhood and in an effort to understand their personal experiences and challenges, here are some personal views from doctor mothers of Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, Paras Hospital, Babies and Us Fertility and IVF Centre, and Columbia Asia Hospital.
Padmashree Dr Alka Kriplani, Head of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Paras Hospital Gurugram, said, "In my memory, this is one of the toughest challenges that the world is facing today, especially in India where there is a large population. Working in such a situation is a complete ballgame altogether. But my countrymen are my priority."
She further talked about having to leave her family due to Covid and added, "Now, every day has become a new lesson for us as a doctor but at the same time, it's taking me away from my family and kids, who are my lifelines and stress busters. The rising number of cases is keeping me on my toes all the time. As doctors, we have been trained well to do that. This process is no doubt a traumatic experience for every parent. The need of the hour is to adapt to the 'new normal."
Dr. Rishma Pai, Gynaecologist and Infertility Specialist, Lilavati Hospital, Mumbai, spoke about how serving during the Covid-19 pandemic is often a call to conscience. "As a doctor and a mother, serving during the Covid-19 pandemic is often a call to conscience. There have been situations where a patient needs my attention as much as my family. Guided by the Hippocratic oath, we choose to serve the patients first and address their concerns. I am also a mother to a doctor who is treating Covid patients," she said.
Rishma said that the strenuous workdays and the emotional stress during the pandemic have brought her and her son even closer. "I do have my motherly worries and concerns, but I cannot let that hinder my work as a doctor, especially during this unprecedented pandemic. I value how my son and I discuss and help each other to understand the features of the disease and offer better treatment to our patients. The strenuous workdays and the emotional stress during the pandemic have brought us closer -- we have bonded better as a parent and a son since the pandemic hit us."
Dr Akta Bajaj, Sr Consultant and head, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals, talked about working in emergency situations and said, "Ever since I have joined the profession of a healthcare professional, I have made up my mind that my patients come first. So, for more than 20 years, working in emergency situations has become a part and parcel of my life. For the last two years, I have been missing on my children's birthdays besides their PTMs because I had to attend medical emergencies as a gynaecologist. "
She then emphasised her duty and responsibilities as a doctor towards her patients and added, "How can I leave my patients behind when they need me? They put all their trust on us for 9 months and it's our responsibility to fulfil our commitments and perform the best for them. For us, there is no lockdown. Whenever there is an emergency, we step out and finish our duties no matter how difficult the situation is."
Dr Sharmila Solanki, Sr Consultant Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Palam Vihar, talked about not being able to spend time with her family, "As a healthcare provider working in a Covid facility, my child is stressed as much as I am. He is concerned about my safety and health -- whether I am eating on time or have time to rest. During the initial days of the pandemic under the strict rules for self-quarantine, it would be days before I could see my family. Video calls were our only solace."
She further added, "I am glad that my child has understood that I am more needed at my workplace in this time of crisis and have acted maturely to provide me the much-needed morale boost. This Mother's Day, I am proud to say that I am the mother of an understanding, supportive and cooperative child, Tejas."
Doctors are often thought of as duty-bound professionals only, having taken the oath to be in service of their patients. As the raging second wave of Covid keeps on spreading, doctors continue fighting it, carrying on with their duties day in and out, sometimes at odd hours even, because the patient is always the priority.