There's a lot of sadness in the world right now. Sadness paired with worry. Worry paired with uncertainty. Uncertainty paired with trauma. Trauma paired with loneliness. Loneliness paired with heaviness.
It's a lot.
We feel through our emotions.
We have our pity parties.
We will rise.
But, first, we cry.
And that's okay. I cry for you, for me—for us.
I cry for the mothers who've had to deliver their babies while in medically-induced comas, the mothers who've tested positive for COVID-19 and haven't been able to hold their babies right away. The mother whose partner wasn't in the delivery room with her or who couldn't stay overnight with her.
I cry for the mothers who planned on having their own moms in the delivery room with them—or maybe even a sister, friend or doula—but couldn't because of the strict one-person only policy many hospitals have implemented. For the mama who wanted their baby to meet their grandparents, right away, in-person, but who instead, met them via FaceTime.
I cry for the mothers about to give birth, sitting with so much uncertainty on their shoulders, as the baby in their belly kicks away—blissfully unaware of the chaos of the world they will soon be entering. I've never given birth amid a global crisis, and mama, I am sorry you have to. But I also cry for your strength. You are amazing. You'll forever be changed by this moment right here. And we'll forever be in awe.
I cry for the mothers who are also nurses. Whose heart feels torn. She doesn't want to leave her child to go into work. She doesn't want to leave her patients without her care. She doesn't want to abandon her partner or her responsibilities at home. She doesn't want to increase her co-workers' load if she isn't there. She doesn't want to get sick. She doesn't want to make this unimaginable choice. She doesn't want to fail anyone.
I cry for the mothers who are also doctors. Who go "home" to their empty hotel room or quiet house—the place where her partner and children are not. Who feels pain as she sits alone in the silence, wishing she could hear her toddler's giggles or her preschooler's movie requests—but she's separated from them in order to protect them. Who wishes for the comforting arms of her partner, knowing that would be the healing salve she needs.
I cry for the mothers whose mental load has exponentially increased since her family has started quarantining at home together. For those days you feel you're going to break as you set up your kid's third Zoom call, make the millionth meal, wash that load of laundry again, settle another sibling squabble and constantly refresh Instacart, trying to place an order.
I cry for the mothers who are trying to create some semblance of order or balance in their families' lives while keeping up with her full-time job. For your strength as you do the impossible—homeschooling while brainstorming, taking calls while taking lunch orders, emailing while entertaining.
I cry for the mothers who have lost someone they love. The ache in your heart, heavy as it has ever been, as you mourn without your extended family, as you wonder when you might be able to plan a memorial service, as you consider when you might be able to gather together to honor the incredible human you lost.
I cry for the mothers who are the healthcare workers at the bedside of the loved ones we are losing as they take their final breaths. I can't imagine the pain and heartache you are feeling. I cry for the weight you'll carry with you, for many days ahead. For the selflessness inside you and the heroism you may not have ever asked for or expected, but has been placed upon you like a badge of honor.
I cry for the mothers who are the hardworking grocery store and delivery employees who want to be safe at home, but also want to keep their steady paychecks. Who wonder if they've already been exposed to the virus as they stock the shelves or drop off a package and worry about what their plan will be if they get sick.
I cry for the mothers who are also teachers. Teachers who miss their students desperately. Who long for answers—when and if school will reopen, what the future of education now looks like, how to keep students engaged virtually. There's so much uncertainty, around school specifically, and I cry for the anxiety or worry you must feel.
I cry for the mothers who've lost their jobs. For the mother who doesn't know where their next grocery load will come from. The mother who doesn't know what her families' health insurance will look like now that she's been laid off. The mother whose savings is dwindling as she dips into it more and more to cover the bills. The unfairness of it all is maddening.
I cry for the mothers without any support at home. The single moms, the moms whose partner is deployed, the moms who are living separately from their partners working on the front line who are quarantined with their children all alone. Who shoulder each and every responsibility on their own—work, grocery shopping or ordering, meal planning, cooking, cleaning, laundry, bath time, bedtime, work, homeschool—without help or assistance. Single mothers, without any financial assistance sometimes, either. I cry for your exhaustion. I cry because of your strength and resilience.
I cry for the mothers who have to continuously say "no" to her kid's requests—"Can we go to the park?", "No", "Can we go see our cousins?", "No", "Can we go to Grandma and Grandpa's?", "No." The mothers who are consoling their children's broken hearts over missed graduation ceremonies and senior proms, while their hearts break simultaneously. You yearn to give them these experiences, to celebrate these milestones, and yet, you're not sure how to do that now.
I cry for the mothers who have canceled important plans. For the Disney trip you spent years saving for. For the first birthday you planned months ago with so much precision and creativity. For the canceled concert you looked forward to, the girl's weekend that you've postponed, the baby shower you may never get. I know the joy these events can bring, and I am sure the heartache feels monumental.
We cry because it's all too much. It's overwhelming. It's fast and furious. It's all so brand new, so foreign.
But, then, after we cry, we dry our eyes. The tears flow into our bloodstream and we power up. Power through. We dig into our reserves and we find our power. Our light.
We are mothers, and yes, we cry.
But then—we forge ahead. With a newfound strength, confidence and resilience—that, no, maybe we didn't plan for any of this, but we're sure as hell going to get ourselves and our families through it. No matter how many tears we shed first.