On Strength

I’ve never considered myself a strong person. Resilient, sure. Hard working. Check. Ambitious. Check. But not strong.

Becoming a mother forces you to look at yourself differently. It forces you to change because you have to. I was terrified of labor, but I did it. I made it through my darkest days with postpartum depression, but I did it. I went back to work after having my son at the start of what would become a global pandemic, without any family around.

When I went back to work our daycare was closed due to Covid, and over the past couple of years we’ve weathered periodic pandemic closures and we’ve had weeks with William home with no more than a runny nose. Those were tough weeks, months even, but nothing has compared to the past few weeks.

Three weeks ago I came down with a virus that knocked me off my feet. I tested negative for Covid and the flu but was bedridden for days and barely left our bedroom. A week later, our daycare closed to an exposure. Two days later, Ian woke up with a fever, tested positive, and – thanks to the vaccine – was sick for just about 48 hours. For William, it was more gradual. A runny nose turned into a cough, all without a fever. In the end, he tested positive and we isolated for 10 days, both of us working full time, chasing a toddler, cooking and cleaning and somehow surviving.

We are almost on the other side. William is back at daycare and Ian is back to 100%. As for me, I’ve never felt more exhausted or run down. The stress of working full time while parenting full time, sleepless nights watching William toss and turn on the baby monitor, making sure we are all hydrated and fed and medicated, the constant testing, the counting of isolation days, the mental juggling of schedules, it’s been a lot. And we are the fortunate ones, with work-from-home jobs and the ability to get groceries delivered.

My first thought coming out of the past few weeks was how weak I felt. But then I realized how strong I’ve had to be. So that day, after putting William down for a nap, I napped myself. And then I got on the Peleton and did a 45-minute ride – something I never do.

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