Rashmi Bagri – Counselling Psychologist, Mpower 1on1 Helpline
This year Mother’s day coincides with one year of the Pandemic anniversary. There could not have been a better time to discuss how the pandemic has affected women especially moms. Being a Mom is tough and in the pandemic, it’s become tougher.
With work from home, school from home, physical distancing which means no house help and no support systems – it’s a lot to navigate for the mom.
While the pandemic has wreaked havoc on everyone’s lives, many people may not be aware of the extra onus on a mother. The pandemic has only added more to the list of responsibilities for a woman. 7-year-old Disha’s mom says it like doing 5 different jobs throughout the day, not to mention “the invisible work” like planning, coordinating, and anticipating needs as we no longer have the luxury of just stepping out any time and buying essentials.
Though mothers now have more time with their kids, it’s now about juggling multiple roles and is equally tiring and stressful which makes it difficult to spend quality time with kids anyways. Especially with moms with younger kids who need more assistance with the virtual connections and with their school work. Most moms have been caught playing the role of various subject teachers as well.
The house has turned into an office-cum-classroom-clinic and mothers are now playing the roles of teachers, playdate friends, and also nurse to other ailing family members.
We are living or trying to adapt to the new normal but how can one possibly explain this to young kids who not only miss their friends but also the outdoor activities which are such an important part of their development both social-emotional and physical.
Some of the biggest concerns for most mothers now are increasing screen time, attending virtual classes, extra classes, watching videos, speaking with friends and family, all on a mobile phone. As children are unable to step out they are left with gadgets only to entertain themselves which is a separate battleground for mothers and especially with adolescents.
An absence of suitable domestic and emotional support can have repercussions on women’s mental health. The potential peril of anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also much higher in women.
Many mothers have also to tackle extreme personal challenges due to the ongoing health crisis, such as some loved one suffering health problems or grief due to a loss of life. Some of the working mothers have had to experience financial hardships, having faced salary cuts, loss of job consequently having difficulty getting needed resources.
For new moms-to-be, the situation is even more challenging. Childbirth can be stressful and critical especially for first-time moms and in the current pandemic situation with a lot of emergencies and restrictive methods adopted by the authorities to prevent the spread of the infection can negatively impact the mother-to-be; potentially increasing the likelihood of anxiety, depression and PSTD.