Author: Anusha Ghosh, Greenville Technical Charter High School ‘21
A few weeks ago, on May 10th, 2020, the world celebrated the first-ever National Mother's Day in quarantine.
Many FaceTimed and called their mothers. Others sent gifts through delivery. I was lucky enough to celebrate with my family. But, regardless of how the day was observed, it started a discussion on an important women's rights issue that has arisen from the coronavirus: the struggles of mothers.
Mothers are the backbone of society and some of the strongest people in the world. They hold a special place and role that no one else can fill. Truly, they have worked hard and made so many sacrifices so that our lives could be better.
Now, in times of the coronavirus, they are one of the groups that have been impacted the most.
Mothers are now largely responsible for caring for the sick, keeping their children home from school, and dealing with the consequences of the outbreak. First-time and single mothers especially bear a significant disadvantage in quarantine.
First-time mothers are struggling to find safe and available hospitals to give birth in. With the current strain on the healthcare system, finding a hospital to give childbirth is difficult. Not to mention, they are alone and are raising their first child with no direct help or support. Sally Brown, a first-time mother in Cape York, describes her experience, "This whole thing has been so stressful. Thinking about going home and how we're going to get home has been more stressful than having the baby. Everything has just been so hard, and no-one can give us a straight answer."
Single mothers are alone in their homes, and whatever support system they used to depend on has completely fallen apart. They no longer have the childcare they need to maintain a steady working schedule and their children now rely on them for constant supervision and help to succeed in school. Additionally, because most of the jobs that have been impacted due to social distancing measures are female-dominated (childcare, retail, travel, hospitality, restaurant, etc.), the burdens of quarantine have fallen on them the most to provide for their loved ones. Simone Colbert, a single working mother, expresses her struggles: “It's difficult for me to do my work and be the chef and be the teacher and find time for self-care. Some days, I feel like I'm melting."
As a society, we have, for the most part, failed to appreciate our mothers to the point that they deserve. But, in quarantine, we have failed even more so at representing them. The virus has exposed the many faults in the healthcare system. However, the challenges that mothers have experienced from the virus have exposed the many inhumane and unrealistic demands they face daily. We can and must do better.
Dear Moms in Quarantine: Thank you for your perseverance. Thank you for your hard work. Thank you for your never-ending selfless strength. We appreciate you being there, and we could not do this without you. You are our everything.
Bobrow, Emily. “‘Some Days I Feel Like I’m Melting’: How Single Mothers in New York City Are Coping with Quarantine.” The New Yorker, 21 Apr. 2020, www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/some-days-i-feel-like-im-melting-how-single-mothers-in-new-york-city-are-coping-with-quarantine.
Faa, Marian. “New Mums Struggle to Cope in Coronavirus Quarantine Far from Cape York Homes.” ABC News, 12 May 2020, www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-12/new-mums-under-stress-in-coronavirus-quarantine-queensland/12238458.
Image from Huffington Post