I am a retired pediatrician, and a mother of three children. I left my practice to be a stay-at-home mom when my kids were still very young, and since then, I have homeschooled all three of them at different points in their lives. This pandemic has been difficult in more ways than one, but one of the hardest things was having to sit back and helplessly watch all of the struggles people were going through. I have been out of practice for a long time, so I have to be re-licensed if I want to go back to work. People are so desperate for help and are in need of doctors— I know I can help, but I’m not allowed to practice. This really weighed on my conscience for a long time, and it almost made me angry. I could be a resource and make a difference right now, but because I made that decision all those years ago, there’s nothing I can do about it now.
It was also hard because I had been planning to run for a political position in Maine for about a year. I was finalizing my campaign and getting ready to announce it right when the pandemic hit. It felt inappropriate to be campaigning and fundraising while the world was suffering. While I knew it was the right thing to do to refrain from announcing my campaign, I still felt like I was giving up on a dream of mine. I felt like I was letting down a lot of people who had supported me, and that I was throwing away all of the work I had done to try and make a positive change in the state that I’ve grown up in and love. For a while, this decision was really difficult to grapple with, but I don’t regret it.
I hope that people will continue to take this pandemic seriously. The past few weeks have been very concerning, because I feel like people are becoming more and more careless. In the long run, I think that this pandemic will open people’s eyes to all of the things that we take for granted. This time has shown us great loss and pain, but my hope is we have learnt how to be more empathetic people.
Written by: Siobhan Kelley