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Patricia Rohlfs

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What are the challenges you’re facing as a midwife practicing during the pandemic?

One of the biggest challenges I find is around the logistics for PPE. Having adequate PPE for midwives was the most urgent question. On a personal level, it is making sure I always carry what I might need with me, keep it organized, easily accessible… The pace is an issue as well, because our regular daily professional tasks take so much more time now. And another big challenge for me is moisture induced asthma which is triggered with ongoing surgical mask wearing.

What, if anything, is helping you get through this crisis?

First, I want to say that I am experiencing this crisis from a very privileged position. No fear of eviction, we can put food on the table as a family, our jobs are safe. My kids are big enough that I can focus on work when home and we gather for breaks, this are the biggest determinants of what is helping me through these crazy times.

More broadly though:  seeing what people are doing for each other; how midwives came together to support one another, how the community started sewing masks, gowns, hats. How physical distancing is highlighting our human need for connection. My teens are now blasé with social media, they want to be with their friends! Just like any big world crisis, this pandemic is a wake-up call for us to stop and celebrate what we have in our daily lives that we take for granted.  Another thing is the hope that comes from seeing how fast nature recovers with a few weeks of much slower economic activity. I keep wondering if we will be smart enough to learn from this, and keep the positive impacts for life, nature, healthcare.