Moms on the Front Lines: Students talk celebrating Mother’s Day with health care professionals


Illustration by Carly Schulman

Celebrating Mother’s Day amidst stay-at-home orders made the holiday look and feel different this year, students said. “It’ll be more just us trying to be our best selves and make sure she knows we appreciate her,” Bienen senior Emma Rothfield said.

Julia Moore, Reporter

Mother’s Day has always been special for Weinberg first-year Anna Wcislak, who was born on the holiday in 2001. This year, the holiday fell on her birthday again, but it looked a little different than usual.

A day celebrated as a way to honor mothers and their heroism, Mother’s Day held even more meaning this year for some people. For those with mothers who are health care professionals, the holiday came as a chance to show appreciation for the hard work and sacrifice of the past few weeks.

Both Wcislak and her mom were celebrated on Sunday — she and her brother planned to cook a special breakfast in the morning for their mom to have before going into the hospital for a shift later that day, she said.

Wcislak’s mom, a registered nurse, has been in and out of the hospital working regularly since the pandemic began. Initially, it was “nerve-wracking” for the family, Wcislak said. But as time has passed, she said they’ve adjusted.

The family has been trying to keep things at home as “peaceful and normal as can be” since life at the hospital is more stressful and chaotic now than ever before for mom, Wcislak said.

“We’re going to try to do something special,” she said.

For Weinberg first-year Morgan Greifer, the holiday comes as a much-needed celebration. Like Wcislak, Greifer’s mom, a pediatric gastroenterologist at NYU, has been in and out of the hospital working for the past two weeks. She’s been living in a separate apartment from the rest of the family to avoid any potential spreading of the virus, Greifer said.

“It’s definitely hard just because obviously we have to avoid contact, and that’s super weird for us,” Greifer said. “But we appreciate what she’s doing.”

On Thursday, her mom’s quarantine period of 14 days ended, and she returned to her family’s apartment, Greifer said. After the time apart, she said the family’s Mother’s Day celebration felt even more special.

Though the family would usually visit relatives to celebrate, Greifer said their plans had changed given the strict stay-at-home orders in New York City. But she said they tried to make the day as “special” as they could.

Bienen senior Emma Rothfield’s family is also dealing with the reality of separation during the pandemic. Rothfield’s dad, an anesthesiologist, commutes from their home in Maryland to Texas for work. The commute, which is usually easy and safe, has become a major stressor for the family, she said.

Along with her dad working out of state, Rothfield said her mom, a doctor working in internal medicine, is also going to and from the hospital. Between her parents’ jobs and the family in the process of moving out of their home, Mother’s Day this year looked more “low-key,” she said.

She and her siblings planned a quiet, relaxed day in celebration of their mom, Rothfield said. Given how hectic both parent’s schedules are between work and the move, she said the holiday felt more about spending quality time than ever this year.

“It’ll be more just us trying to be our best selves and make sure she knows we appreciate her,” Rothfield said.

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Twitter: @juliasemoore

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