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Mothers on the Frontline: An Inspiration


    The world is a better place because of mothers and so we give our thanks to you – mothers and mother figures who always seem to be there and continue to show us patience and unconditional love, no matter what age we are. 


    Here at InLife Sheroes, the month of May is dedicated to Mothers on the Frontline. Every Sunday, we feature three Sheroes and ask about their current situation and how they manage to juggle their many roles. Shedding many a valuable lesson, these women are undoubtedly an inspiration to everyone in this unprecedented time of emotional, mental, and spiritual distress.

    Dra. Kathlynne Anne Abat-Senen, 42 years old

    Department of Pediatrics, Philippine General Hospital

    Mother to a 7-year-old and an 11-year-old


    What does a day in your new normal look like?

    I have been able to start my day with a good breakfast since the ECQ started and that is a blessing. I also get to cuddle with my kids before I go off to work. I am a neonatologist so my patients are mostly sick or preterm infants. I make my rounds at the neonatal intensive care units of 5 hospitals. I sometimes get called back in to attend to preterm deliveries or to see very sick babies. 


    Neonatology is intense but the pandemic made it even more challenging for us to treat our patients. Since the start of the ECQ, we've taken extra protection by donning level 4 PPE (usually 3 layers) during deliveries and when attending to patients with pneumonia. It is quite challenging to perform even the simplest tasks in these suits. It actually feels like you are in a sauna or running a marathon because of the immense heat and the difficulty in breathing through an N95 mask. After my rounds, I see patients at the clinic or through telemedicine. In between patients, I squeeze in ZOOM meetings since I am also a faculty and consultant at the UP-PGH. When all the work is done, the rest of my day is spent with my family. And once they fall asleep, I unleash my creativity by creating virtual choir videos for the UP Medchoir Alumni to inspire and also help raise funds for the PGH which is now a COVID Center.  


    What do you miss most as a mom because of COVID-19 restrictions?

    I always love it when my I see my kids jumping in excitement as I arrive home from work. They used to shower me with hugs and kisses once I open the car door. Since the pandemic, I have to ask my children to hide whenever I come home. I can only hug and kiss them after I have taken a shower. There was a time when my husband (who is also a doctor) and I developed flu-like symptoms after treating a COVID suspect patient. At that time, we had to isolate from our kids. My son actually cried and said, “Is it COVID? I am afraid you might die, mama.” That was painful. 


    What’s the first thing you intend to do with your family once it’s safe again?

    We would probably eat out. We love good food. My kids are steak and ramen connoisseurs. 


    What are you looking forward to doing when this is all over?

    I look forward to real human connection beyond technology. This pandemic has taken away TOUCH, a very important love language. I want to be able to hold my patients’ hands and treat them without all the layers of PPE. To smile at them and see them smile back at me. I want to stop being afraid of bringing home the virus to my family.  


    What valuable learnings have you gained?

    The ECQ has definitely given us extra cuddle and play time with the kids. It has also given me more quality time with my husband. I thought my children were oblivious to what was going on outside our home. But when my colleagues succumbed to COVID-19, my kids started asking us if we were dying too. So we started having talks with them about the pandemic and how we are protecting ourselves while helping other people. My children never asked us to stay at home. They understood our duty. But they fervently pray with us each night for the safety of all and the healing of those who are sick. I am amazed by the level of maturity my children are manifesting. I never hear them complain about having to stay at home. The pandemic has truly brought our family closer and has strengthened our faith.  


    What drives you to keep doing what you do?

    I have always been motivated by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s quote "The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." I am fortunate to have a family that encourages me to live a life of purpose.  



    Jolizbeth "Dyali" Justo, 43 years oid 

    Public School Teacher  

    Single mother to 19-year-old daughter


    What does a day in your new normal look like?

    Some things are the same, like we still do the usual stuff.  What makes it different now is WHEN  do we do those activities. This new normal brought something good personally. I have less guilt  in doing things for myself. Before ECQ,  I always felt guilty if I didn’t make use of my time productively.  I always think that the only time I should rest is when I retire at night.  Now,  it's like it's always a weekend. Of course, if there's an online meeting, I wake up earlier.  Usually, we need to check on our load for online data. It's a necessity with everything being done online now - submitting school forms, communicating with  my students, my fellow teachers, and school admin etc.  


    What do you miss most as a mom because of COVID-19 restrictions?

    Oh,  just going out to have our girly stuff, like mani-ped dates,  visiting the waxing salon for our brows. We are comfy in our house that is why,  we never miss anything in the "outside world".  I think my being a mom has nothing to do with ECQ because i still get to do what i need to do in parenting my daughter.  


    What’s the first thing you intend to do with your family once it’s safe again?

    Attend church service,  be with my victory group. We also plan to visit our relatives.  We miss hanging out with them.  We will also go to our house in Rizal, to tidy it up. Check on my students and see them. Meet friends.   


    What are you looking forward to doing when this is over?

    That people would remember the lessons we learned during those times we were in ECQ and we should not go back to our previous wicked ways.  We are all forgetful,  when things are better,  we forget what we endured and live as if nothing can stop out lives.  

    What valuable learnings have you gained?

    - Prayer works. Prayer is so important. This situation tested a believer's faith. Because,  at times,  you just have no one to turn to, but Him.

    - Quiet time means spending really quiet time with the Lord,  except for the occasional barking, and the birds chirping. My daughter and I can really stay at home for long periods of time, but we need food and other supplies delivered to us.   

    - It is ok not to be ok all time,  and yet you will still be loved. 

    - You can't walk out when you want your storm to pass, because you have nowhere to go. 

    - Humor helps... All the time kasi ang pikon talo.  

    - There is nothing wrong sleeping on unmade beds. 

    What drives you to keep doing what you do?

    My students. They need someone to look up to,  an authority with integrity,  someone they believe, and obey and someone they know that loves them as her own. It s a perfect opportunity to show them that even outside the classroom, long after classes ended,  they are still my kids and I am their teacher. The learning materials I share with them is not for me,  but for their own benefit.  Jesus never rest to show His love and kindness to people.  I want to be like our great Guru.     

    Nanette E. Real, 33 years old

    OFW Nurse, Ministry of Health at Muscat, Oman 

    Mom of an Overseas Filipino family (Husband is also a nurse)   

    Mother to a 2-year-old son 


    What does a day in your new normal look like?
    y new normal looks like almost the same lang naman. Bahay-hospital pag may pasok. Pag day off naman, bahay rin lang, papahinga, nkikipaglaro sa anak ko, nood netflix. Ang more adjustment s amin is my son. Hindi kasi siya makalabas at hindi rin makapunta mga playmates niya kaya we see to it na may time kami sa kanya para hindi siya ma-bore.


    What do you miss most as a mom because of COVID-19 restrictions?

    Namimiss ko ngayon yung feeling na may peace of mind ako, yung hndi ako paranoid sa bawat labas ko ng bahay ay may mdala akong bacteria s anak ko. And of course, I miss the moments when we're able to go outside anytime we want. Importante sa akin na naiilabas sya lalo na pag off ako. Sobrang saya nya kasi pag nkakatakbo at laro sya sa labas ksama ung iba niyang playmates. 


    What’s the first thing you intend to do with your family once it’s safe again?

    Mag-outing. Roadtrip. Punta sa beach for fresh air. 


    What are you looking forward to doing when this is over?

    That everything will go back to normal. Na mas maingat na ang mga tao at wag balewalain ang health, time and family. 


    What valuable learnings have you gained?

    What I learned is that you should take care of yourself, para maibigay mo rin ung 100% care at love mo sa family mo. Pag nawala o humina ung ilaw ng tahanan, didilim, at mahihirapan gumalaw ang pamilya. 


    What drives you to keep doing what you do? 

    First of all, kailangan talaga mgwork para sa araw- araw at future na pangangailangan. Pangalawa, love ko ung pagiging nurse ko kahit delikado sya lalo na ngayng time of covid. Fullfillment s amin as nurses na may pasyente ka na gumaling sa pagaalaga mo. Yung uuwi sila na nkasamile. Priceless yun. 

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