Menu

Dear Mr. President, as a mother I am afraid of coronavirus—here's why

You tell us to not be afraid, but we're unsupported and alone.

afraif of coronavirus

Dear Mr. President,

It must be a relief to have been discharged from the hospital after your COVID diagnosis. It's a positive outcome that 210,000 people in this country did not get to experience; I am sure you are grateful and respectively contemplative about this juxtaposition.

Upon your discharge, you urged the American people, the people you are charged with leading, to not be scared of COVID.

It's tempting, this notion of not being afraid. We'd love to not be afraid. Unfortunately, that is not a concept based on the reality of most Americans, especially mothers.

We are afraid. Terrified, really.

You see, your COVID experience is vastly different from the people you "represent." If we get sick, we won't have access to the experimental drugs you received; we may not even have access to drugs or treatment at all. Every week I get an email informing me how many ICU beds are available in my local hospital—Oh good, I sigh. It looks like there's a lot of room in the ICU this week; if I get sick hopefully they'll have room for me.

That is how I get my relief these days—it's not normal and it's terrifying.

To not be scared of COVID is a mighty privilege not afforded to most mothers in this country. We don't have the luxury of not being afraid.


It appears that the lived-experience of the American people has eluded you, so before you post another bravado-infused message of false optimism, I'll take a few moments and let you know why you shouldn't.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when everything we count on, everything that gives us a semblance of security and comfort in this world is hanging on by a thread.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when we must choose between in-person school and virtual learning, and in doing so choose between our children's physical and mental wellbeing; what a daunting decision to make.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when an astronomical hospital bill could ruin our families financially should we get sick.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when Black and Hispanic women are disproportionately more at risk of getting COVID and becoming seriously ill from it.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when we have no idea what a single mother is going to do if she gets sick and can't take care of her children.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when we might lose our jobs (if we haven't already) because layoffs need to be made, or maybe just because we can't find the elusive balance between being a full-time worker and a full-time mother and a full-time teacher while living through full-time panic.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when we are not only faced with the reality that our loved ones might die, but that we won't be able to go to their funerals if they do.

Don't tell us not to be afraid without giving us any support.

Don't tell us not to be afraid when you have given us no reassurance that our families will be taken care of in the country we live in.

If your request is for us to not be afraid, our request is for you to address these issues. Until they are fixed, telling us not to be afraid is both out of touch and reckless.

Not being afraid is easy. It's easy to choose not to care or to not to think deeply about the consequences of one's actions.

Being afraid, and then being brave—that is hard. And that is what we, the American People, will do. So we will continue to be afraid. We will also continue to be brave.

Because bravery isn't the absence of fear, it's being afraid and doing it anyway.

So though we are afraid, we will keep going.
Though we are afraid, we will keep using our voices.
Though we are afraid, we will vote.

I'm glad you're feeling better, Mr. President.

In This Article

    The weighted blanket you need to make it through the rest of 2020 is on sale today only

    If you want to sleep on a cloud, this is your chance.

    If I had a dollar for everything I've added to a virtual cart over the past eight months thinking, "I need this. We're in a pandemic." I, well, I'd be able to afford like 1/8 the grand total. From "stress-relieving" aroma diffusers (going to need like an ocean's worth of lavender oil here) to jetted foot spas, there's really nothing I'm not cart-curious about if it might in some small way make the monotony of work, kids, Netflix, repeat just a little more bearable.

    Occasionally, I actually pull the trigger. And most of the time, I'm so glad I did. Case in point: A weighted blanket.

    Unless you've been living on a remote island for the past few years (where do I sign up?), you've definitely heard of weighted blankets by now. If not, I'll catch you up. Harnessing the power of deep pressure stimulation, these grounding blankets can help reduce anxiety, improve sleep and bring about a deeper sense of relaxation. They're championed by parents of kiddos on the spectrum as a tool to help them calm down, by mamas of toddlers who have a hard time sleeping in their own bed, and of course, everyone who has turned to one in hopes of not staring at the ceiling at 3 am AGAIN.

    Admittedly, I wondered if they could possibly be worth the hype. But as the market flooded with dozens of options and the world became a real dumpster fire, it wasn't a question of "should I get one" so much as it was a question of "which one should I get"—because if they're selling calm, I'm buying.

    Keep reading Show less
    Shop

    10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

    You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

    Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

    As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

    Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life

    29 last-minute family Halloween costumes you can pull together NOW

    If your little one is going as a lion, coordinating is as easy as breaking out the khaki!

    Here's how Halloween unfolds in most households I know: Mom spends weeks—even months—planning the perfect costumes for little ones. Then Halloween creeps up and they realize they need an outfit to coordinate with the kids' get-ups. What's a mom to do?!

    Thankfully, there's no need for fear or pressure: There are so many ideas for parents that are easy to make and still super clever.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life