A woman has a socially distanced visit with her family in a separate car

Celebrating Hero Moms During the Pandemic

Mothers perform small miracles every day during normal circumstances. As the coronavirus pandemic has uprooted “normal” life as we know it, those everyday miracles have become more challenging – and yet more important than ever.

Making the miracles happen – like eating a meal together and keeping siblings from arguing – often requires sacrifices from parents and mothers. For moms who are health care workers during the pandemic, those sacrifices can be especially deep.

Bonita Allen is a 33-year-old patient care technician at a major hospital in Southeast Michigan. Together with her husband, Jeremy, they have four children ages four to 14 years old.

For three weeks from March to April, Allen lived in a hotel to protect her family from potential exposure to COVID-19.

“I do direct patient care,” Allen said. “I know it’s easy for me to pick up anything in the hospital. And with COVID, people can have it and not have symptoms.”

As the pandemic was unfolding in Michigan in early March, Allen learned she may have been exposed to COVID-19 at work. She had taken care of a patient in her unit before they had the symptoms of coronavirus – but that patient was later diagnosed with COVID-19. Allen herself did not have COVID-19 symptoms.

Her family had to decide quickly: their seven-year-old has severe asthma, and allergy season was just around the corner. The risk was too great to take a chance. For the sake of her child, and her family’s health, Allen packed her bags.

Though the video calls, phone calls and pictures between Allen to her family were a ritual, the distance was real. As a family they gathered together for some socially distanced visits – including once at their Ypsilanti home, when Allen had to stay in the driveway.

The hardest point came on a call with her youngest child, age four, who cried on the phone and said, “I want a real hug.”

“They’re kids; it’s hard for them to understand,” Allen said.

At the same time, Allen said her children have a good understanding of why the coronavirus is different than regular sicknesses.

“I’m not a germophobe, I’m germ-conscious,” Allen said, explaining how she’s taught the importance of hand washing to her children at home.

Which is why COVID-19 spreads more easily – as a respiratory illness, it’s harder to control.

“You can’t stop breathing,” Allen said.

Allen is now at home with her family after testing negative for COVID-19 and taking some time off from work. The possibility that she’ll have to return and isolate herself from her family again is still there.

Her story of sacrifice is one of many out of the pandemic, as families undergo unprecedented circumstances. From stay-at-home moms who are working to keep their children entertained, fed, happy and healthy, to the working moms juggling the demands of their career with the needs of their family, to the moms just trying to make the best of a difficult situation – they all should be celebrated for their heroic actions this Mother’s Day.

Bonita Allen is a Blue Care Network Member. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are proud of all of our members making a difference on the front lines of the pandemic.

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Photo credit: Jeremy Allen

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