This article was sponsored by Portal from Facebook. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.
Now more than ever, mamas are pushed to the absolute max. They're taking on the additional roles of teacher, full-time caregiver, housekeeper, chef, partner, therapist, nurse and, sometimes, font lines—and they're doing it all without help. Not only are schools and daycares closed, but access to caregivers and loved ones is restricted while the shelter-in-place rules are still in regulation. On top of that, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends are missing out on meaningful milestones and celebrations that they would normally witness in person.
That's where Portal from Facebook can play an integral role: bridging the distance gap and bringing joy to the faces of those we love so we can feel a little bit closer during this crazy time.
In celebration of Mother's Day, Portal, the video calling device from Facebook, launched a new campaign honoring moms and mother figures across the U.S. who are on the frontlines at work and managing the impossible at home. Here are some of their stories, which highlight the remarkable sacrifices they make every single day for their patients and society as a whole.
Dr. Joyce Park
Dr. Joyce Park, M.D., a dermatologist in California, names her mom as her biggest source of support during her difficult postpartum period. Her mom visited her daily during maternity leave to help with her baby. But like so many of us, Dr. Joyce hasn't been able to see her parents in person lately and it's been so hard not having her mom around for support.
"I know she feels like she is 'missing out' on seeing her first grandchild grow," Dr. Joyce says. "For me, my daily schedule has changed, being a mix of teledermatology, weekly clinic visits for urgent cases, and soaking up whatever time I can get with my son in between."
One of the highlights of Dr. Joyce's day is using @portalfromfacebook to do video calls with her parents. "It helps me still feel that sense of support and love from my parents and allows them to still maintain their connection with Dotori."
Dr. Audrey Cruz
The hardest thing Dr. Audrey Cruz, M.D. has ever done was send her son away. As a hospital physician, the mom of one has been working for seven days straight on a floor where coronavirus patients are being treated. She's made the extremely difficult decision to send her 9-month-old son to live with her parents temporarily to minimize his exposure.
"Coming home after a long shift and not being able to hold my son has definitely been one of the hardest things I've ever endured," she says. "I miss him so much, but thankfully I've been staying connected with my son and parents via @portalfromfacebook. Seeing their faces on a video call lights up my entire day. I love how Portal from Facebook helps us feel like we're right there with each other. Next week, I'm back in the hospital, but today I got to spend some time with Baby JJ before sending him back to live with my parents. I'm cherishing every second I have with my baby boy."
Dr. Kiarra King
From the doctor's lounge to lounging around the house, Chicago-based OB-GYN and mom of one, Dr. Kiarra King, M.D.'s 'normal' has really taken a turn these last few weeks.
"My close-knit family has been scattered like pieces of a puzzle, and my days now include homeschooling while making time for conference calls and patients," Dr. King says. "We are doing our best to stay connected virtually to maintain a sense of normalcy, especially for Kai, in these uncertain times. It's so easy to share our day using @portalfromfacebook, which allows them to step right into her world even though they're miles away! Lately, Kai has been transforming from student to chef and even a gardener. Although things are a little different, for now, we still are creating lasting good memories that will stand the test of time."
Dr. Dianah Lake
Dr. Dianah Lake is an emergency medicine physician and divorced mom to two special needs boys with autism and ADHD. She works 12 to 14 shifts in the ER every month, each ranging from 10 to 12 hours. Amidst all the craziness, she's still grateful to have a job when so many have lost theirs, and she feels honored to be a public servant during this difficult time. Pictured above: Dianah reunited with her son after not seeing him in person for 6 weeks.
Brooke Dean is a single working mother from Queens, New York, who already felt like there weren't enough hours in the day before COVID-19—however, she had a system and resources in place to create a sense of balance in her life. Then came the pandemic… and all of a sudden, a schedule she thought couldn't get more hectic has blown up to tornado-like proportions.
Instead of getting to work at her offices in Newark, New Jersey between 9:30 am and 10 am and leaving work at 4:20 pm, she now starts her days at 8 am, waking up to work emails that were sent at 3 am. The work-life boundaries she worked so hard to establish are now seemingly nonexistent, yet somehow she manages to keep life in motion for herself and her child.
Amy Crooks is a certified nursing assistant who works in a nursing home. She is working well over her usual hours so she can provide for her family during this time. A few weeks ago, she thought she had been exposed to a COVID-19 patient so she avoided holding her baby for four heartbreaking days while she waited for test results. Fortunately, the resident she'd been exposed to tested negative for the virus, and Crooks was able to return to her normal life as a mom and nursing assistant.
Wendy is Crisis Mental Health Clinician in the Emergency Room at the largest hospital in Rhode Island. She has 3 kids ages 7, 6 and 3. Wendy treats individuals who are suffering from mental health emergencies, some COVID+ and some not, and has seen an increase in the number of patients with pre-existing mental illness coming through the ED since the start of the crisis. The toll of being quarantined, health providers only being available via telehealth, and the general uncertainty around COVID-19 is having a major effect on people. Wendy's husband is also an essential worker so they take the proper precautions after a day's work to avoid bringing the virus into their home. This includes stripping down in the front hall and immediately showering. Is it effective? They have no clue but it gives them peace of mind during the pandemic.
Lorae Raeder, who has two grown kids, works daily 12-hour shifts at the New York State Department of Labor's unemployment division. Her day is spent helping New York residents file for unemployment and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. She's exhausted, but knows that if she stops, fewer people will receive unemployment benefits. She's only had one day off in 45 days and counting. She's hoping to facetime Sunday with her youngest in the USAF in Japan on Sunday, Mother's Day, her next day off.