Ingredients on kitchen counter for baking a recipe to represent resilience

A Recipe for Resilience

When I received the confirmation that my patients on the psychiatric unit would not be returning due to the COVID-19 virus, the prospect of my working from home became a reality. I had been preparing for this, and I began to set in motion all the pieces necessary in order to do therapy from home and homeschool our children.

Although I was as anxious as anyone about the virus, I felt a strange familiarity setting in. This wouldn’t be the first time that my work and home life boundaries blurred. Nor was this the first time I would be staying at home for days on end with minimal contact with others, or worrying about catching something that could harm loved ones. I realized I was strangely prepared, thanks to an experience that most would not associate with a deadly virus outbreak: the experience of childbirth.

It almost feels like a betrayal to talk negatively about pregnancy and childbirth, however I can’t imagine I am alone in feeling that those experiences left battle scars that trigger déjà vu as we struggle during this outbreak. During most women’s pregnancies, her physical well-being becomes a consuming central focus, leading her to look for threats in once innocuous sources such as make-up and sunlight. Today, everyone is grappling with the need to avoid things we took for granted, like restaurant take-out bags and Ubers. Similarly, the recent abrupt change in lifestyle due to the virus, though jarring, is nothing new for most parents. The absolute freedom to go where you want, when you want, without much thought is a luxury you don’t get back for a really, really, I mean REALLY long time. Sound familiar? As we’re all living that restriction now I can’t help but wonder whether others are also reminded of that familiar bind of sacrificing and adapting for the ones you love.

Today, as I feel my limits being pushed and my emotional stretch marks growing, I run through the list of skills that I picked up during the process of becoming a parent to remind myself of each ingredient that now constitute my personal recipe of resilience. As a typical mom and a psychologist, I wish to share those ingredients with you with the hope that, like a time-honored family recipe, you enjoy the outcome and modify them to your own taste and liking.

Presenting my five ingredients of resilience, borne from childbirth, and rendered during the time of COVID-19 (aka, Crowning to Corona Soup):

1 cup of Basic Values, finely diced 

With the birth of our twins, as my husband and I struggled to make sense of our delirious, sleep-deprived lives, every day we toasted to a basic indication of success: our daughters’ survival. That was it. Not that they were given the best organic foods or being taught with sensory flash cards, but that, at the end of the day, we managed to keep them alive. Five years later, as we attempt to homeschool two kindergartners, never has the basic focus on survival ever been more pertinent. Focusing on one or two important things gives direction amidst the chaos.

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