Anxiety tugs at heart strings of these women. They leave their children to the care of others, because they have to fight a tough fight. Their battle is against an unseen enemy. It afflicts and kills. The disease has consumed the lives of more than three hundred thousand people and infected more than three million people across the world. On the eve of Mother’s Day, Free Press has talked to some of the women who are fighting the battle against the corona pandemic from the front, leaving their children to home. They are uptight about their kids, they say. Yet they sacrifice their today for better tomorrow of the nation. Excerpts:
Dr Shanta Dharve, CMO and head of pulmonary medicine in Hamidia Hospital
Doctor Shanta Dharve is the mother of a seven-year-old son and a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Her husband, an assistant professor in pathology department in Gandhi Medical College, is on Covid-19 team. Her duty hour is from 8am to 2pm, and her husband works from 9am to10pm. So she has to wake up at 4am and prepare breakfast and lunch. Before leaving for hospital, she gives some tasks to keep her children busy. She also keeps in contact with them through landline phone, and if she is unable to attend phone, they talk to their father and grandparents. Her son is very sincere and follows what she says; besides he manages his sister, the doctor says. She remains anxious about them. Yet, she cannot do anything. “Even I couldn’t hug them just after reaching home due to fear of infection,” she says.
Dr Ambika Shrivastava Gupta, Prof in Rishiraj College of Dental Sciences and Research Centre, Bhopal
Dr. Ambika Shrivastava is the mother of a seven-year-old daughter Miraya. Her husband is also a doctor. So, she shifted her daughter to the home of her parents who live in Bhopal. After completing her office work which is from 9am to 3pm, she goes to her home and takes bath. She goes to meet her daughter at 8pm. It is difficult but one has to do it, she says. Her daughter is very understanding, she says. They have made her understand what coivd-19 is, and why it is necessary to maintain social distancing, she says.
Nisha Ahirwar, Sub Inspector
Nisha Ahirwar, 35, is the mother of two children. Her son is eight years old and her daughter only three. Nisha’s husband is a doctor posted to Betul. She commutes from Bagh Mugalia to Roshanpura Square. She is supposed to check vehicles from 3pm to 12 at night. “My children keep awake till I reach home. We go to bed at 2am,” she says. She is clear about her priorities. “My duty comes first and children next,” she says. She did not take leave when her daughter was ill.
Priyanka Nath, Aaganwadi worker
Aaganwadi centres are closed due to lockdown, but Priyanka has no respite from work. She’s the mother of a two-year-old son. She has been deployed in corona survey work. She has to distribute supplementary food to homes of children in her area. She leaves her son to her neighbour’s, because her husband works as technician in a hospital. He is on duty from 9 am to late in the evening. “Yes, I do miss my child, but I cannot neglect my work,” she says. Priyanka leaves her home at 8 am and is back by 1pm. “I take bath and only then fetch my child from the neighbour’s place,” she says.
Maya Khan, nurse
The three-and-a-half-year-old son of Maya Khan, nursing in-charge of covid-19 ward at Hamidia Hospital, is down with chicken pox for the past three days. “He is running high fever. My husband phoned to tell me that he is refusing to take the medicine. Yet, I can do nothing. I cannot leave my patients and go,” she said. Her husband, a Unani doctor, takes care of the child when she is away. “For me, my duty is more important than my family,” she says. “Bura to lagta hai,” she says when asked how it feels to keep distance with the child even when at home.
Shanta Fanta, banker
Shanta who works in Central Bank of India, Raisen is the mother of two daughters – one is 10-year-old and another is two-year-old. She lives in Bhopal but she has to go to Raisen for work. She had to stay at the home of one of her friends for two weeks leaving her daughters alone. At that time, her husband who works in LIC, Bareily, took leave and managed the children. “We live in a nuclear family. Earlier, I used to take leave for one week and stayed at home and my husband did the same. But we can’t take so much leave. He has to join office from Monday,” she says. She is now thinking to leave her children to the care of her parents who live in Bhopal. She said that her younger daughter misses her lot, because she never lived her alone, especially at night. “What to do. Whatever we are doing is for their future,” she says.