We think of doctors as duty-bound professionals only, having taken the oath to be in service of their patients. Amid the ongoing health crisis, while some people are looking up to them hopefully, others are seeing them as a threat, mainly because of their exposure to the infection. Around the world, as doctors and nurses fight this dangerous stigma, they carry on with their duties day in and out, sometimes at odd hours even, because the patient is always the priority.
This Mother’s Day, in an effort to understand their personal experiences and challenges — vis-a-vis their own kids — indianexpress.com reached out to some doctors — gynecologists, obstetricians and IVF experts, who are mothers themselves. These women have been tirelessly working and pacifying their patients who are getting ready to usher a new life into this world amid a pandemic, all while dealing with their own fears, and staying away from their precious little ones at home.
“I have a son who is five-and-a-half years old. Mine is a nuclear family and I live with just my husband and my son here in Pune. Most of the time, I take calls at odd hours because labour does not wait for anyone. When my patient is admitted in the hospital, I tell my son repeatedly that mumma has to go for some time. There is a baby who will come out of another mumma’s tummy, and I have to go and help her. My husband then manages to tell him a story, and puts him to bed. When he wakes up, he says, ‘See I slept and woke up on time.’ On Mother’s Day, my plan is to help deliver a baby for a diabetic mother — this is her first, and she has specifically asked for the baby to be delivered on the day,” Dr Madhu Juneja, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist with Cloudnine Hospital in Pune, says.
Dr Juneja says it is tough to be a mother who is a doctor, especially an obstetrician. “These days, I tell my son not to touch me or kiss me, because I see patients, and these patients may be infected. He then asks me about the infection. But he understands that while he has to stay in the house, his mother has to go out for work. I would like to spend this Mother’s Day with my son, but then my profession is my priority. Parallel to my own happiness, I have to help other mothers experience it, too,” she says.
Just like Dr Juneja, Dr Jyoti, a gynaecologist at Noida’s Motherhood Hospital, too, feels immensely satisfied when she helps a woman become a mother. “Emergency deliveries can happen anytime. Nowadays, patients are a lot more worried about their unborn baby. We have to tell them that the baby is safe inside, but she needs to take care of herself,” she says.
“I have two daughters, 12 and eight. I live in a joint family, so when I am not with them, I am not really worried, because I have my in-laws. When the lockdown started, in the initial four or five days, I was at home and luckily there were no deliveries. I felt good after a long time, and even though my kids have grown up, I had never given them this much time. Now, we have to be careful so we do not catch the infection ourselves. My daughters ask me why I have to go to the hospital, but I tell them that once we have taken the oath we cannot sit at home. Now they tell me that I have to take care of myself; it is the other way round. But I must say, my kids see me as a doctor first,” she says.
For Dr Reena Gupta, a Fertility Consultant at the Nova IVF Fertility in Delhi, and a mother of two daughters aged five years old and five months old, giving a patient the gift of motherhood is a wonderful feeling. “Most of the patients for whom we do IVFs, have been trying to start a family for years. They come to us after 10 or 20 years of marriage even. It is a blessing for them, and when they conceive and later come to me with their babies, it is an awesome feeling, the best thing we see in our practice. That is what keeps us motivated,” she says.
Dr Gupta says the lockdown has not been that gruelling for her, as her clinic opened earlier this week, after restrictions were eased a little. “Most of the patients who wanted to connect with us, were being provided tele-consultations; generally we see patients in the initial months of pregnancy only, after which we refer them to other doctors,” she says. This Mother’s Day, Dr Gupta and her six-year-old plan to bake a cake, and have a simple celebration at home.
Dr Nupur Gupta, Director of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Fortis Gurugram, meanwhile, has been busy with emergencies, and OPDs. She says a lot of time goes in counselling women, and making them understand that they need to stay at home and not go running to the hospital for little things. A mother of two teens, Dr Gupta says the counselling makes all the difference, really.
“The biggest difficulty is that I have to look after everything. Kids are home and suddenly they have become demanding,” she laughs. “Even when I am at home, I am on calls. But my children are proud their mother is a doctor, and that she can do anything. They understand that because I am a doctor, my priority is my patient. I have to go to the hospital even when I am in the middle of my lunch. On Mother’s Day, if some emergency case comes up, I will have to go. But this is the biggest joy in our profession that we bring happiness to so many families. This is the best part of their life also. And they never forget that,” she says.