I’m sure I’m not the only one crashing down memory lane these days thanks to the Facebook flashbacks of past posts. My most recent trip, one taken 6 years ago today, was of my 5 month old reaching for colorful plastic eggs. I smile as I’m reminded of that warm feeling of family around this time of year. Then abruptly after that famous alert that tells you when someone’s just commented, an image pops up and I’m thrown way back into the 80's.
A flood of mixed regrets fill me as I scan over the faces from an unquarantined Easter Sunday 38 years ago. I’m 20 days old in the arms of my grandmother, surrounded by our big family. My mother, a first time mom, sitting next to her mother trying to soak up as much time as possible with her parents before the end of their visit. I’ve seen this picture all my life, but seeing it today as a mother myself during this pandemic, I can’t help but wish I could’ve known those faces more in my childhood.
But life being what it is today, you never know how long you have with the people who’ve raised you or helped shape you into the adult or parent you are. I’m sure not everyone has family experiences they want to remember but this one I wish I did remember. Due to cancer and Alzheimer's I was never gifted the memory of my grandmother's smiling face and my grandfather's strong hugs. For a long time I felt robbed of a strong village because of their passing, but right now as an adult I’m reminded that I did have cousins, uncles and aunts who were a part of my life and thus my mom’s village. Whether they knew it or not, they helped mold me in some way along with co-workers, neighbors and friends.
Looking at the photo again, I realize how very precious and fragile a village is especially during COVID 19. The newborn baby in this photo is loved on by people all around her for Easter, but during quarantine 2020, this moment isn’t possible. The new mom, not able to have someone hold the baby while she makes her plate or get a much needed nap. A house full of people to entertain the little ones with an Easter Hunt won’t be taking place for those practicing social distancing.
As a Baby Coach, I teach the importance of putting a support system in place. But what if your support system is sick right now or unfortunately already taken by the virus? How do you go on and rebuild your village?With climbing numbers of Corona victims, odds are we all know someone who’s weekly routine of raising their children will be greatly impacted if not already hit. This pandemic will end one day and when it does those with very young children will need volunteers to step up, even if all they can offer is a simple consistent word of support to count on. The transition will be challenging but not impossible as long as we all have the courage to speak up and step up in our practices.
I’ve made a list of helpful steps to take as we all rebuild our villages.
Journal regularly and find positive aspirations to say about yourself. This will be helpful in times when you are at your darkest.
If you are currently pregnant, talk with your doctor and pediatrician regularly to find ways to find grief support groups or call your insurance company.
Find a faith to keep yourself in the loop of something on-going as you and your family rebuild.
If you don’t have a computer to work from home, offer to cook meals or make necessary items that people may want to raise money for one.
Apply for grants or loans to start your own small business
Propose that your company or non-profit group use your connections to start an onsite family care room with space for parents to use for their kids until they get off of work.
Encourage your neighbors and local businesses to bring back neighborhood watch to support the families with children under 18 while parents are working.
Get together with business owners to create scholarships for parents to buy technology to work from home with.
Start a web chat with your coworkers who’ve lost someone directly so they have someone to get encouragement from and share mental health practices with.
Read weekly to a group of kids regularly and discuss books via video conferencing.
Run a summer baby-sitting program to teach teens how to baby sit safely so they can be an asset to families who need them.
If you have more ideas for rebuilding your village after the war, leave a comment.
For an idea on a great way to show your village how special they are to you, take a page from an article by Contributor Danielle Lafahaj’s, When the Village Has A Baby.