Doctors and nurses are on the front lines of the war against coronavirus, going into battle on a daily basis against a deadly enemy. They're putting their own health on the line to treat their patients and keep the rest of us safe.

And many of them are also being forced to make another devastating sacrifice—social distancing from their own families to keep the virus from infecting their loved ones and to help flatten the curve.

Some of them have taken to Twitter to share their heartbreaking new reality.

One doctor/mom wrote: "I'm about to separate from my family within my home for [who knows how many] months. So that I can [keep] treating you, whilst trying to keep my family safe. It hurts. No hugs from my girls, no cuddles from my partner. [Please] socially distance NOW, to make my sacrifice worth it."

As parents, we all know how hard it is to be away from our kids for any amount of time—it's hard to imagine having to cope with separating from them for an unknown period, to not be able to hold them in the midst of the pervading fear and anxiety we're all dealing with. And we're so grateful to these first responders.

That thread continued: "We will do it, because we will step up and do our job. We'll be tired, anxious, and, almost certainly, a patient ourselves at some point.. we just ask for your help now Cancel book club Cancel that 1st [birthday] party. Cancel meetings. Please help to #FlattenTheCurve"

Another doctor, whose spouse is an emergency room physician, shared that her husband is also taking extreme measures:

Rachel Patzer shared that with a newborn baby and two other small children at home, it's too great of a risk for her husband to come home and mix with the family as he continues to treat coronavirus patients. For men and women in situations like these—giving up the chance to see their babies grow up, to snuggle their kids and kiss their partners hello—it's a huge sacrifice.

Viral video: Health care workers on the front lines of coronavirus are asking us to stay home

An anonymous user on TikTok uploaded a video that has gone viral because it shows the sacrifice parents working in medicine are making during coronavirus and the steps they want us to take.

In the clip medical responders wearing personal protective equipment (gowns, masks, gloves and eye shields) hold up pieces of paper displaying messages for the public.

"We also have families and can't stay home..." one sheet reads.

"Be responsible, stay home, because I can't," says another message.

"Help us! Take care of me, I'll take care of you," another piece of paper reads.

Author Brené Brown posted the clip to her Instagram, captioning it: "To all the healthcare professionals and to the people who love them - thank you for protecting us. We will do the same. It's such a small ask, friends."

For anyone not taking this threat seriously, these stories should serve as a reminder that we all need to do our part to get through this crisis. Social distancing is hard, but if these doctors can do it so can we.

[This post was originally published March 18, 2020. It has been updated.]

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.


The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.

As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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My husband and I always talked about starting a family a few years after we were married so we could truly enjoy the “newlywed” phase. But that was over before it started. I was pregnant on our wedding day. Surprise!

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