Bhubaneswar: Amidst the anxiety, stress and uncertainty among people due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic, most mothers are facing an additional tension. They are worried over who will take care of their children if they test COVID positive.
At the same time, some mothers are putting their lives at risk in the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19.
On the occasion of Mother’s Day, let’s meet two such braveheart mothers — one a frontline worker and another and a COVID warrior — who are balancing their maternal responsibilities and duty towards society.
Jasoda Mahanta is a pharmacist at the Tangi community health centre (CHC) in Cuttack district. She also has a seven-year-old son and three-year-old daughter to take care at home.
Nevertheless, the 31-year-old healthcare worker always walks into the CHC with a big smile on her face and has a caring and reassuring attitude towards patients at the CHC.
But this ever smiling frontline worker hides a painful secret that few are aware of. “My son had undergone a heart surgery when he was only two-and-a-half years old. Since then, he has been suffering from a neurology problem. He can’t even walk and do his own work. I have sent him to my mother’s place. She is taking care of him,” said Jasoda.
Jasoda is now staying in Tangi, three km away from the CHC with her daughter and husband.
Jasoda used to do contact tracing of COVID patients and refer the positive cases to hospital. She is also involved in rapid response team, telemedicine and control room consultation, etc.
“My husband was a paralytic. However, his health condition is stable now and he works in a private company in Cuttack,” she said.
“I have gone through very difficult phases of life. But for my work, I could help my family financially. For me duty is God. I never hesitate to help the COVID patients in this situation,” she added.
“I have to bring my three-year-old daughter with me to the hospital sometimes. I know, it is a risk to bring her in this situation, but I don’t have any other option,.
“Sometimes, I lock her in a room. In my free time I used to rush home and feed her. One of my neighbours, who is also a medical staff, couldn’t see my struggle and told me to send my daughter to her house. Sometime I send my kid to her house. But it is not possible always,” she said.
“When I left my little baby at home alone, I really feel very guilty. But have to control my emotion, especially in this situation,” said Jasoda in teary eyes.
However, Jasoda makes sure to take all precautions at work to ensure she does not get infected and put her family members at risk during these difficult times.
“In the hospital, I used to control the emotion of a mother and take care of COVID patients, as there is risk of their lives. If I will neglect, a family can lose one of the family members. That thought always makes me more careful. The patients are like family to me now. With my kid and husband, I love to take care patients in the hospital,” said Jasoda.
Ahalya Mahapatra is a Home Guard posted at RBI, Bhubaneswar at present.
Ahalya, who stays at Shastri Nagar in Bhubaneswar, has a three-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.
However, this has not deterred this COVID warrior from reporting for duty regularly.
“I have to go for my work from 9 am to 2 pm. I have to deal with many people. Though we are taking all precautions, there is always a fear of COVID in mind,” said Ahalya.
“I have to complete all the household chores by 9 am. I have to leave my kids at home alone. I have requested my neighbour to check in on my children at regular intervals. In this COVID situation, no one will keep my children at their home,” said Ahalya.
“In my work place also, some thoughts like whether my children are taking food or not and about their activities in the home, used to come to my mind. It disturbs me. But I control my emotion and focus on my work,” said Ahalya.
“Though I get very less amount of salary, I can do my bit to help my family financially,” she added.
“We had never thought of this pandemic situation. But I know the importance of my work. That’s why I will not quit. I will continue my work for my kids,” said Ahalya.