These are unprecedented times, tough times. Almost no one alive has gone through a pandemic like this before. People dying, people losing their loved ones, the anxieties, the fears and the loss of hope… an experience that none of us are going to forget.
Our protectors are the doctors, the nurses and all the health workers. Working tirelessly, without breaks, without meeting their families for weeks at end and putting themselves at risk day in and day out, they forge on. They have only one thought in mind – how do we save the maximum number of people from this pandemic. And it is not easy for them at all. Lack of resources, medication and the very nature of this unknown virus, that changes with every wave of infections, renders them helpless at times. The mental and physical exhaustion is taking a toll on everyone.
In these times, when everything around looks bleak, it is very important for all of us, especially our healthcare workers to try and keep a positive frame of mind. We spoke to paediatrician Dr. Roli Munshi who has been working with children for more than 15 years. We asked her about the challenges and difficulties being faced by the healthcare community at present. A mother of two girls, we tried to understand what drives her to leave her children behind to go and help the other children, suffering from this infection. This is what she had to say:
Question : What motivates you to go out there and tend to patients everyday, knowing the risks and the exposure you are putting yourself and your kids at risk?
Like all mothers, she worries about the safety and security of her children during this pandemic. But in the midst of all this death and infection, she steps out of her secure home and goes to work every single day, to help other children and their parents. She says her motivation to do so is her profession. She loves being a doctor and the knowledge that her intervention might save someone’s life, drives her to take the risk and be at her post to lend a helping hand.
Question : What are the emotions you are going through as a professional doctor and mother during these times?
Its not easy, she says, to see so much suffering and death around you at this time. An important part of the journey to become a doctor is to train your mind and body to protect itself from all the suffering that you come across while treating the patients. Even so, this pandemic has taken a toll on all health professionals like her. Feeling of anxiety, depression and most of all helplessness are very high amongst the healthcare community. She constantly gets queries about availability of hospital beds, oxygen and medication. And a lot of times she is unable to assist the callers with a solution. It is times like these, she says, that she feels most helpless and almost guilty for not being able to help out, even though she knows that these are things that are not under her control.
But all is not lost. As a mother, she says keeping good mental health is very important, not just for herself but for her children as well. She tries to see the positive developments during these times and reminds herself daily that all is not lost. She urges people to do the same and shift their focus on the encouraging developments and the triumphs, like the development of the vaccine, a better understanding of the virus and the coming together of communities, that have been achieved in this pandemic. This is very important in order to keep up the spirits so that one can go on doing the work and help others. She says one should not just focus on the number of deaths, but also on the people who are recovering from this virus. She encourages people to keep the faith and get vaccinated, as it will reduce the risk of the infection. She says that parents should not skip getting their covid tests just because they are scared of the diagnosis. They should not be in denial if they see the symptoms in their children and should take immediate action.
Question : What is the message that you would like to give all parents out there, especially mothers at this time of the pandemic?
Her message to all parents, especially mothers is that they need to be careful about their health and not neglect it. It is very important for parents to be healthy and fit so that they can be pillars of support for their children. She also prescribes taking atleast an hour long break daily to yourself in an activity of your choice – gardening, listening to music, playing a game, watching a movie… anything that will relieve your stress and anxiety. And she says, Do Not Feel Guilty About It. This is vital. She also asks people to be responsible citizens and observe rules of preauction and safety to reduce the spread of the virus.
Health is important, as told to us by Dr., Roli Munshi, and even more important is to recognise the positives that are being achieved one step at a time. We thank frontline mothers like Dr. Roli Munshi with all our heart, who go forth with a positive attitude, working tirelessly for others. They give us strength and hope that together, we can beat this virus. Let’s keep the faith together.