There’s more than one type of front-line worker nowadays amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And there’s certainly more than one hero. To honor some of the hero’s many call mom, Portal from Facebook launched a new campaign honoring moms on the front lines—those at work and those sheltering-in-place at home.
Just in time for Mother’s Day, we were able to touch base remotely with two brave women in the medical field who are showing up for their communities and their families as front-line workers who have been spotlighted by Facebook. Dr. Kiarra King, MD, is a board-certified Obstetrician-Gynecologist, and Dr. Dianah T. Lake, MD, an emergency medicine doctor, are mothers who have dedicated their careers to helping others and promoting wellness.
As COVID-19 impacts the world as we know it, these mothers share the ways in which they show up for others and stay motivated.
Mother’s on the Front Lines
Tell us more about you and your work! What has it been like showing up for others?
Dr. Lake: It’s been very rewarding to show compassion and care for people when they are experiencing medical emergencies. People typically show up in the ER in the least preferred condition, they are sometimes having a stroke, heart attack, miscarriage, domestic violence, intoxicated or in severe pain from a broken bone, infection, or some other inflammatory process. In recent weeks, most people are concerned that they may be infected with the coronavirus. My job is to evaluate, test, diagnose, and treat them in the most effective way.
Dr. King: My mission in life and professionally is to educate and empower women to live their most optimal lives. I am grateful to have a platform that allows me to share tips for healthy living and give insight to living outside of the box! I’m currently home with my little one amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This has allowed me to continue to create content in the women’s health space. I have participated in social media partnerships with colleagues and local media that raises awareness on black maternal health, coronavirus myths, and more. It’s important that I use my voice for good in times that are uncertain for many.
Has motherhood inspired you during this time? If so, how?!
Dr. Lake: Absolutely. Since my boys are not staying with me during this time, I’ve created new ways to stay connected with them. Video chats are fun, we are also reading books together over the phone. I’m a quality time person, so I’m finding new ways for quality time with them. I visited with my son at the park last weekend and saw him in-person for the first time in 6 weeks. It’s been difficult not having my kids at home with me, but their safety is more important. I’ve become even more grateful for my boys and the wonderful times we’ve shared as a family during this time in the absence.
Dr. King: Being a mom during this pandemic has absolutely inspired me. My daughter, Kai, is 4 and is as inquisitive and bright as they come. She understands that due to the coronavirus we can not operate in our normal fashion. She misses her teachers, friends, and all of her activities; she had quite a busy weekly schedule including ballet, gymnastics, and swimming before the shelter in place orders took effect. Through it all, she has remained beautifully resilient. Her spirit is contagious. That alone inspires me to do all I can to make this moment in history one that she remembers in a positive light. We have had so much spontaneous fun during this time. We’ve taken impromptu field trips to see deer at a local forest preserve.
We’ve been exploring new recipes and even started a garden! Kai recently gave me a “mommy makeover,” it was quite interesting but she had a ball! I’ve always valued education for myself and Kai and love providing opportunities for her to learn and grow. As a result of school closures, I’ve had to push myself into the formal role of a teacher. The way her mind works inspires and challenges me to create new ways to teach her materials. It’s quite rewarding to see her flourish in spite of the circumstances. Her innocence and infective energy are a constant reminder to be grateful for every moment big and small.
Filling Your Cup
What keeps you motivated?
Dr. Lake: Providing a person with emergent medical care and pain management goes a long way. They leave with immediate gratification and mediation for their condition, and I feel like I’ve made a difference in someone’s life experience. It’s a beautiful exchange. This motivates me to continue working and providing quality care to patients in the community.
Dr. King: My faith in God, hope, my family, friends, and even patients keep me motivated. Knowing I am on this earth for a purpose keeps me motivated. I know there are great things in store for me, there are an abundance of opportunities with my name on them and rooms that are waiting for me to enter and bloom. I know that my purpose in life is connected to someone else’s destiny; so, I’m driven to continue to excel because a life literally depends on it. Even in our darkest times, life is always giving if we pay attention, it’s really a beautiful thing.
We See You
What message of encouragement do you have for other moms on the frontlines?
Dr. Lake: In addition to my ER practice, I am also a fitness, wellness, and weight loss coach. I’ve used my holistic self-care practices as a fitness coach to successfully get through this time.
I’d encourage front-line moms to make self-care a top priority. Attend to your emotional and spiritual well-being. Get adequate sleep, eat healthy nutritious foods, exercise regularly 4 to 5 days a week, stay well hydrated, get support from other moms, friends, romantic partners, and family members, improve your gut health and immune system with probiotics and anti-inflammatory foods and drinks, meditate, read a book, pray, be grateful for the good that’s still happening in our lives and appreciate all that is still working in our lives. Self-care is essential for frontline workers, making it a priority is self-preservation. Stay well so you can continue to share your gifts with the world.
Dr. King: To my colleagues, the times in which we now live are unprecedented for most of us. When we went to medical school and ultimately residency to train for our respective specialties, we probably never thought “front line” would describe our jobs. The shift that has taken place in the world has impacted every fiber of our being. Some of you are spending extended periods away from your families to protect them. Others have ventured into telehealth visits while homeschooling little ones in between calls. It’s not what you signed up for but you always persist against the odds.
So, in times like these, show yourself some grace. It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to cry. It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK to put your needs first, although as physicians and moms we are so used to prioritizing everyone else. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. So, as you refill your cup, remember it’s OK to laugh and look forward to the future with hope. I see you, momma, you are not alone in this. If no one has told you, you are needed, you are vital, and you are loved. We will get through this, we will come out on the other side.
To all of the mothers on the frontlines at work and home, BLACK ENTERPRISE wishes you a Happy Mother’s Day!