How to be a #BagongNanay in the time of Covid-19

This morning, I woke up the moment my husband was about to go to bed. I asked him, “Anong oras na?”

“Ah, 4:30. Ano ba ngayon, Wednesday? Hala, Thursday na pala.”

Uncertain. Our life has been like that every day, for four days now, since government ordered both public and private companies to let their employees work from home amid the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

My eldest sister who works in the BPO industry said it best: this is unprecedented. In her 14 years on the job, they were never asked to stop going to the office and just work from home. Not even during the worst typhoons. It’s never been done before. This is some serious sh*t.

Anxiety due to this uncertainty hits me every time. I recently quit from my job, after ten years of working, to become a full-time nanay. The thought hasn’t really sunk in yet, as the decision was beautiful and harrowing at the same time. Here’s what I’ve been doing to cope with this uncertainty:

1. Focus on what matters most.

With the threat of Covid19 just lurking outside our door, I am striving to be like a swan – cooking our meals, washing the dishes, preparing her bath, breastfeeding her every two hours, reading to her, playing with her, watching nursery rhymes with her, putting her to sleep – but breaking down underneath. Focus on what you need to do, and keep going.

Your most important task during these times is to keep your family safe and healthy. Don’t pressure yourself to do a lot of things just because you feel you aren’t doing anything. It’s okay. Just keep your home the safest place to be.

2. Take a break.

Recently, I’ve been having engorged breasts. Perhaps my baby is not latching well, or probably because I am so stressed. Why was I stressed that night?

Our President just finished his speech, announcing that there will be an Enhanced Community 1uarantine or ECQ in Luzon. After that, my husband and I watched 93 Days on Netflix, a film about ebola. On top of that, I am unemployed, and anxiously waiting for the results of my applications for home-based jobs. And yes, I need to do everything in my power to keep my family alive and try to keep my sh*t together.

Everything is messed up, so give yourself a chance to breathe. Take a social media break, watch the daily news but with caution that there are things you cannot control, so do things that you have control. Read a book, write on your journal, or declutter your room. Rest.

3. Take it one day at a time.

Dealing with this kind uncertainty is hard, especially for a first-time mother. How long before I can take my child to the park? Or, will we ever be able to go to the park again?

Find comfort in knowing that the only way we will overcome this, is to survive one day at a time. For now, staying at home is the best that we can do. So we make the most of our hours at home. One day, we will look back on these days and miss these, I bet.

4. Find an outlet.

The mental load of a first-time mother at the time of Covid-19 is freaking heavy. You are in-charge of another person’s life now.

That’s why to cope, I try to write so I can finally let all my thoughts and emotions out. If I leave this post unfinished, and save it as another draft, it will keep haunting me. I also find comfort that when I write down things, there will come a time that I will read them again and think “Ooh, so that happened before and now everything is better.

Maybe take this time to finally meditate or workout, bake or cook, whatever that suits you. Nothing fancy, just focus your energies to doing something else instead of worrying and being anxious. It’s hard, but we need to be in-charge of our mental health to better care for others.

So what else can you do when things are uncertain?

  • Focus on what truly matters
  • Consider sending private messages to people you care about, instead of posting rants publicly.
  • Don’t add to the burden that others are already carrying by spreading negativity or false news.
  • Have faith that this, too, shall pass.
  • In this time of crisis, be like a swan, but think like a wolf. Take charge of your pack.

And oh. Find comfort in this promise from today’s readings:

“All depends on faith, everything is grace.”
—Rm 4:16

#bagongnanay

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