Columnist Carole Fawcett takes a look at the novel coronavirus pandemic with Behind the Mask. (Contributed)

Behind the Mask: COVID-19 and motherhood

Vernon columnist speaks to two area moms amid the COVID-19 pandemic

“You won’t see me going into a restaurant where they don’t use vaccine passports. I don’t know why people think they won’t get COVID-19. It’s real and it is horrible.”

This is what a baby boomer told me recently.

“I worry about my children and my grandkids.”

I wondered what young moms might feel as they raise their children in today’s world.

Sara has a toddler and although she felt concerned about sending her to an indoor daycare program, she did and then ended up pulling her out when the COVID numbers skyrocketed in August. So, she decided to send her to a one day a week outdoor daycare program.

She feels more relaxed and her daughter loves it. She is still concerned and as she watches her child interact with other children on the playground, she can’t help but feel a twinge of worry. But as she says, “I don’t want my child to think that the world is a scary place, full of danger.”

“As an Early Childhood Educator myself,” Sara said. “I have had to provide my vaccine status at every job I’ve ever had. I did not feel it invaded my health privacy, it protects the families I work with.

I need everyone to help me keep her safe by getting their vaccines. I am bewildered and hurt that so many seem to care so little. I strongly support the passport.”

Canada’s first female Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said: “The economic challenge created by the coronavirus is hitting mothers particularly hard. We are seeing women’s participation in the workforce falling very sharply.”

A recent report from the Royal Bank of Canada found that women’s participation in the Canadian labour force fell by 4.7 per cent between February and May.

There are multiple factors that have contributed to what has been dubbed the “shecession,” but childcare obligations are one of the most frequently cited.

During the same period, employment among women with toddlers or school-aged children fell by seven per cent, whereas men with children in the same age groups only saw a four-per-cent decline.

Natalie and her husband have three boys.

Natalie had COVID in March of 2020 and was very ill for two weeks. She thinks she caught the virus in a big box store bathroom, where someone was coughing so violently they were physically ill. It left her with a bad cough and migraine headaches.

“My boys get very frustrated with adults they are supposed to respect when the adults can’t seem to master basic science.”

It was hard on the family, as her husband was working and looking after the children while she was sick and isolated for 14 days. She was unable to work, so applied for CERB (Canada Emergency Response Benefit) and she says that was what saved them from losing their home.

“I support the passport, although I have no idea why they used the term ‘passport’ instead of immunization record,” she said.*

Natalie feels that the groups who are demonstrating are almost looking for anything to rage against.

“It’s the growing individualism in our society that could become dangerous. If we look at how the Indigenous have handled the pandemic, it’s amazing to see how they value community and each other.”

She also added, “I think we need to remember that the majority of people in B.C. are fantastic. Just look at the vaccine uptake. There is a small loud minority that is making this pandemic needlessly ugly.”

We are not being asked to go to war. We’re being asked to wear a mask. I get sick to my stomach when I see comparisons to the Holocaust. How removed are people from reality to believe they are being persecuted like the six million dead in Second World War?

Thank you Sara and Natalie for sharing your stories.

Carole Fawcett is a Counsellor, Clinical Hypnotherapist and freelance writer. www.wordaffair.com

*(Editor’s note: The proof of vaccination program in B.C. is referred to as a Vaccine Card, not ‘passport.’ The term ‘vaccine passport’ is used more in a colloquial sense.)