April 7, 2020

Parenthood In The Pandemic

Clients, Staff, and Community Members Navigate Changing Times

Staff at YWCA Spokane continue our work supporting survivors of domestic violence in our Spokane community during this time of the pandemic. We join many around the globe as we face the challenge to respond to the needs of our clients and our community while navigating a new way of life within our individual households. In challenging times like these, we have the opportunity to bear witness to and be a part of stories of survival, creativity, and resilience from the people we serve.

As we began the second week of mostly remote work, we celebrated a simple story of one mother who fearlessly sought medical care for her children despite uncertainties on the way there. Miranda Smith woke up Monday morning to both of her young children complaining of mouth pain. Miranda, a client with a regular presence within YWCA Spokane’s Women’s Opportunity Center, has recently cultivated an increasingly strong support network, is fostering a healthy relationship with her children, and is saving up to purchase her first home. While she knew her children’s symptoms weren’t of coronavirus, she scheduled an appointment with the children’s dentist right away, wanting to ensure her children has access to high-quality care and medical attention, even though it would mean the family would have to ride three different buses, during a pandemic, to get there.

In Her Own Words

Commenting on the experience, Miranda remarked, “I called to make an appointment with the kids’ dentist. I didn’t recognize the voice on the other end of the line and thought I had called the wrong number. After a moment I realized the dentist was scheduling his own appointments. I had never experienced him do that before.” The dentist wanted to meet the children’s needs and was able to schedule appointments on short notice for them. The only condition was that Miranda was to bring in one child at a time in order to follow current social distancing guidelines. Miranda was ready to accommodate to the dentist’s request.

Miranda woke her children up early the next morning to make the trip. The plan was to go out with one child at a time while the other child remained in the watchful care of a family member at home. The youngest child went first. Miranda and her youngest child rode three buses across town and then entered the quiet dentist’s office. There were no other families in the waiting area like there usually were, and there was no receptionist at the front desk. After a brief dental assessment, it was clear that the mouth pain was caused by four molars coming in at once. This was good news. Not only did this mean her son’s mouth was healthy, but it also meant there was time left in the day for the dentist to see more patients. “He told me, ‘I’ve still got time in the day to see your other child after all.’ So I made it happen.” Miranda said.

“As domestic violence advocates we’re skilled in being resourceful and finding hope amid dark times. In this time of pandemic we need to apply these skills in our own lives more than usual. I’ve found hope in the stories of survivors who are malleable and resilient despite the fact so many of the simple pleasures in life have become life-threatening.” – Kate, YWCA Spokane Women’s Opportunity Mentor 

Parenthood in a Pandemic

She caught three different buses to get back home, traded one child for the other and took three different buses to get back to the dentist’s office again; this time with her four-year-old, Tammy. Comparing the experiences with the two children, Miranda said, “Tammy is older and noticed how different the dentist office felt.”

The dentist did his exam of Miranda’s oldest child, prescribed a modified care regimen, and sent them on their way. Miranda and her four-year-old made their way home on the three different bus routes. As the ride went on, Miranda noticed what many single parents are facing during this new era of social distancing. Parenting is challenging generally, but the current state of the world adds a whole new layer to the mix of considerations a parent must think about each day.

During that ride home Miranda recalls her daughter saying, “Can we go to the park?” then answering herself, “No, the park is closed.” Her daughter then asked, “Can we go to the children’s museum?”, to which Miranda had to reply, “No it’s closed too.” Commenting on the experience of watching her child take in the changes that we are all grappling with during this pandemic, Miranda said, “She’s beginning to process what’s going on. By the time we got on the last bus toward home, Tammy was very upset and crying because our normal activities weren’t available to us due to social distancing. It was a long day.”  

Miranda exemplifies resilience on her path toward self-sufficiency. When asked if she was concerned about taking the bus during the pandemic she said, “It was our only choice. We don’t have a car. I feel like I’m doing a good job staying positive during all of this. Our family is making the best of each day.”

Confidentiality Notice

Please note, names and minor details of this story have been altered to protect the anonymity of the client who gave us permission to share this part of her journey with the public.

Written content provided by Kate Johnston, YWCA Spokane Women’s Opportunity Mentor.


If you or someone you know is impacted by intimate partner domestic violence, know that confidential advocates are always available through our 24hr helpline services by calling 509-326-2255, emailing help@ywcaspokane.org, or texting 509-220-3725. 

To learn more about accessing additional services through YWCA Spokane during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit ywcaspokane.org/services. Thank you!

By: Mia Morton

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