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London Ont. mothers working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic

Amy Taylor in the centre with her husband and three children. Supplied by Amy Taylor

On a daily basis, moms do not get the credit they deserve for the fantastic work they do, which is especially true for those working on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

From grocery store cashiers and transit workers to nurses and doctors, many moms are putting the needs of others above their own to provide essential services.

READ MORE: Mother’s Day amid COVID-19 pandemic: finding ways to celebrate at a distance

Some mothers working on the front lines are even living away from their families during the pandemic to keep their loved ones safe.

In honour of Mother’s Day, Global News spoke to some London, Ont., moms about what it’s like working during the pandemic.

Amy Taylor after working a 12-hour shift with a face mask on. Supplied by Amy Taylor

ICU nurse Amy Taylor

Stress, anxiety, and helplessness are feelings London Health Sciences Centre ICU nurse Amy Taylor tells Global News she lives with daily.

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With 18 years in health care, Taylor says she was working during the SARS outbreak, but the COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything she has experienced before.

“As an ICU nurse we are used to critical conditions and life-and-death [situations], but this one is different. This time we see the stories about what is happening around the world, and we see there is a personal risk this time.”

Those feelings are even more compounded by the fact Taylor’s husband has leukemia, and she has been living with a coworker since March 24 to keep him and her family safe.

“I want to protect him and the rest of my family, and my children. I don’t know how to convey how horrible that feels.”

Click to play video 'Health care workers protect families by staying away: ‘I’d rather do that knowing she is safe’' Health care workers protect families by staying away: ‘I’d rather do that knowing she is safe’
Health care workers protect families by staying away: ‘I’d rather do that knowing she is safe’ – Apr 23, 2020

The mother of three said her teenagers have really stepped up to help around the house during their time apart, and she is grateful to be able to video chat with them every day.

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Taylor will be working on Mother’s Day but said her family has decided to postpone celebrating until they can be together again.

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“All I really want for Mother’s Day is to be able to hug my kids.”

Barbie Allen London ICU Nurse in RV to self isolate at home
Barbie Allen London ICU Nurse in RV to self isolate at home. Supplied by Barbie Allen

ICU nurse Barbie Allen

Taylor is not the only one who has moved out of the house to protect her family. Fellow ICU nurse Barbie Allen has been living out of an RV in her driveway for the last month to protect the family.

Global News first spoke Allen three weeks ago when she talked to us about living in an RV in her driveway to avoid getting her family sick.

READ MORE: ICU nurse Barbie Allen lives in an RV to protect her family from coronavirus

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Allen’s son has severe asthma and has had to use a ventilator in the past, which she said puts him at higher risk during the pandemic.

“Like everybody else, we are ready for it to be over, which we know won’t just happen, and we are anxious about what the future will be like in health care.”

With 32 years of experience, Allen worked as a nurse in Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital during the SARS outbreak.

She tells Global News in previous years she has always had to work on Mother’s Day. This year she is not working and is hoping for some good weather so her family can spend some time with her outside.

“It is what it is, but at least we are still healthy and enjoy each other’s company.”

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Although she is close to her family, Allen tells Global it still not the same as getting to be with them.

“I think about it a lot — trying to figure out when it will be safe to move out (of the RV),” she said. “Once the numbers in the unit get to a place that I am not so worried, I will move back into the house.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Ontario RV owners helping essential workers self isolate, protect their family members

Public Health nurse Kelly Morris

Kelly Morris, a public health nurse with the Middlesex-London Health Unit, is not in a hospital, but she is dealing with the virus on a daily basis.

Before the pandemic, she worked to provide health services in highs schools, but once the pandemic started, she was redeployed to work with the hotline and then moved to work with case and contact management.

With three boys, Morris admits that she was a little uncertain about what they were going to do with schools closed.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Can I refuse to go back to work if I feel unsafe?

She tells Global that she and her husband decided he would be the one staying home with the kids so she could continue working.

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“I just remember that feeling of wanting to help, wanting to be at the front line and wanting to be involved, so I was excited but also nervous and anxious.”

She is one who makes the first call to inform people about their positive diagnosis and then reaches out to whoever that person came in contact with.

“They are going through a lot of frustration, fear and anxiety.”

Morris said she helps those who test positive get set up with any or resources or information they may need.

READ MORE: Provinces eye technology-enhanced contact tracing in next phase of COVID-19 fight

Within the last two days, she has now taken on a new role, working on a team focusing on outbreaks in centres like longterm care and retirement homes.

For Mother’s Day, Morris said it will be tough for those who can’t be with their moms or who have lost mothers during this time, but said she is focused on staying positive.

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