A common theme on my blog is that knowledge is power. I’ve written about it so many times from simple nutrition to the benefits of exercise. I even dedicated an entire month to it. Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, the topic that is ever-present in the world, but also hush-hush in specific circles. If you guessed COVID, you’re right.
As a mother, I want to always protect my kids from what’s out in the world, and the truth is, by removing the stigma around COVID (and specifically COVID testing), you have so much more knowledge and so much more power. Hopefully, the big takeaway from this blog is the understanding that we are all going through the unknown, so give yourself grace, but arm yourself with knowledge too. The more you know, the more control you have, and that knowledge starts with COVID testing.
Give Yourself the Grace to Learn
Here’s the tricky thing: We have never been through a global pandemic before. Never. Yes, we’ve weathered so many storms—literal storms, and many of those have road maps of what precautions to take, what to do, and how to most efficiently resolve the problem. A pandemic, on the other hand, is new territory.
It’s important for all of us to take a step back and realize that in order for us to really feel prepared and able to tackle some of the decisions that COVID has forced us to make, we might encounter some bumps and bruises along the way. And you know what? That’s okay. Asking questions is a great way to start learning more and to start finding our own level of comfort in any given situation. For the first time in a long time, we realize how tied together we are, and how much we impact one another on a daily basis. Treat this new found connection with grace, not with stigma or criticism. We are all learning.
Gain Knowledge from COVID Testing
I look at it this way: I’m a mom of four amazing, beautiful, talented, gifted, and unique kiddos. And they all go to different schools. While I can do my part to keep them safe at home, it’s impossible to know exactly what each kid is doing from moment to moment when they’re at school. So, making sure THEY feel empowered and educated about their own personal safety and how to protect others has been a really hot topic in our household over the last year.
Understanding that I don’t live in a bubble, and neither do my kids, especially as they scale back remote learning, testing is essential. But first let me say, I feel like there has become this stigma about getting tested. When I break it down, it’s built in fear:
- Fear of the unknown
- Fear of something new
- Fear of “others”
Fear is so powerful, right? It’s almost like we’re scared to get tested, yet, at the same time, we’re scared to not get tested because of so many unknowns and the “What ifs?” that face us. There is a list of possibilities that run through our head when we think about getting a positive result. The truth is, some people would just rather not know. But you guys, by now, we have a better understanding of how COVID spreads, which is why testing is essential.
- Identifies the people who need care in a timely manner (and are positive).
- Allows the positive person to notify those they have been in contact with, reducing the chances that they will infect others.
Testing, in combination with social distancing and quarantining, is so necessary to keep others safe, especially because the reality is we just don’t know all the facts around COVID. You never know who you may come into contact with who has a pre-existing condition, and our elderly neighbors and relatives are especially at risk. And I know none of us set out with the intention to hurt others, which is why I like to keep these reasons at the front of my mind when I go out.
The good news? Testing is quick and easy! Don’t let the fear of the unknown decrease your ability to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Here is a list of drive-thru testing centers so you can stay safe in your car and imagine you’re really at your local Starbucks, or google “covid testing near me” and local results will pop up. What happens next is like any other test you get at the doctor. Don’t be afraid. You’re doing great.
The truth is, this elephant in the room has impacted me in a big way, and I’m still learning. I personally know two people who have lost family members to COVID, and I can’t bear the thought of knowing that someone else could have their lives changed forever for something as simple as me not doing my part to protect myself and others when I leave my house.
Here’s the question: Whose life will you be saving by getting tested and then following the recommended protocols if you’re positive? Maybe someone in your family? Maybe someone you love? Maybe good friends? Maybe strangers? I take comfort in knowing that each time I get tested, I am doing my part to keep someone else safe. And that, my friends, is enough for me. Let’s support one another in making these tough decisions and standing up and being brave even when it’s difficult to do!
Here are some other informative COVID-related resources:
World Health Organization: Social Stigma associated with COVID-19
National Institute of Health: Why COVID-19 testing is the key to getting back to normal
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: COVID-19: Reducing Stigma