Mum guilt in times of covid

“Mummy! Mummy, wake up!” Ilias shook her, his voice desperate. “I’m hungry Mummy, it’s time for breakfast!”.

She opened her eyes slowly as pain shot through her weakened body. Every muscle, every joint, every organ felt like it was being crushed. It was excruciating. She opened her mouth to speak but erupted into a violent coughing fit.

“Mummy, are you ok?” Ilias asked, a very concerned look on his little face. He picked up her bottle of water and handed it to her.

“Yes Poppet, just in a lot of pain, but I’ll be ok”, she replied.

“I’m hungry, Mummy”, he repeated.

There was nobody else to help her. Somehow, she had to find the strength to get up and feed her child.

She forced herself up, trying not to cry out from the pain. Her breathing was shallow, and another coughing fit almost knocked her over.

Ilias took her big hand in his little one. “I’ll look after you Mummy”, he said. “Such a sweet boy masha Allah” she thought to herself.

Guilt ripped through her as she poured him a bowl of cereal. “I’m a terrible mum” She thought. “All he’s had is cereal and fast food for the last few days.”

She’d tested positive for covid three days prior, although by now she was on her fifth day of being terribly ill. There was barely any food in the house and no online delivery slots available. Not that she had the energy to cook anyway. She was as white as a sheet with dark circles under her bloodshot eyes. She looked terrible. The incessant coughing and excruciating pain had her body exhausted.

“What if I die? Who will take care of him?”

He was only five, the poor thing, and he’d been practically alone for the last few days while she was laid up in bed. He was such a sweetheart, doing his best to take care of his mummy. He kept bringing her water and tissues and asking her what else he could do to help. All he wanted was for his mummy to get better.

“What if I die?” The thought went round and round in her head.

She dozed off into a restless sleep. Tossing and turning, trying to get comfortable but unable to because of the pain. In and out she drifted, hot and cold, the fever and her aching body preventing any real rest. Confused, she couldn’t tell how long she’d been sleeping. She had no idea what time, or even what day it was.

“Mummy! Mummy! Wake up!” She could feel his little fingers tapping her cheek.

“Mmmm.” She grunted, squinting at him. The light burned her eyes.

“I made my own breakfast today, Mummy!”, he said proudly. “You don’t need to get up, you can stay in bed!” He smiled, feeling very accomplished.

“You’re a good boy” she said, thankfulness flooding over her.

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