This is Erika’s story. It is about her and her family’s experience with Covid-19, and lessons learned along the way. 

“Being a psychologist, I have read so many things about Covid-19. The emotional impact of isolation on our children, and the financial impact of this pandemic worldwide. A lot has been said and written about how to prevent getting Covid-19. About how to support our children returning to schools and to this ‘new normal’ that everyone is talking about.”

“What I was not prepared for was what to do if you test positive for Covid-19.”

Erika Basson is mom to 4 beautiful boys, aged between 15 months and 6 years. Her mother tested positive for Covid-19. Erika was shocked when she heard the test results, knowing her mom was more at risk, being older. Having been in contact with her mother a few days prior, she was concerned about her own family. As she works at a school, she decided to get tested. 

“Always first pause and take a moment for yourself to process, and then you can react.”

“At the time of going for the test I had no symptoms at all, but that evening I started feeling sick. My doctor phoned the following morning with the news that I had tested positive and that I needed to isolate for 14 days. Anxiety started as I knew I must now make numerous calls to everyone I was in close contact with. I was scared and anxious that my kids and my husband were now also going to get sick. I felt like a criminal. It was horrible to phone everyone and answer ten thousand questions without me having time to pause and process the news first. This was my biggest mistake in handling the news.”

Her children started having symptoms. They were not feeling well. No one was able to come and help them, naturally. This was hard. 

“It was a logistical nightmare. We could not go to the shops and get food or medicine. No one could just come over and help or support us. We were left vulnerable and scared not knowing what we should do next. I started to get very sick and felt horrible. I was also worried about my mother, who was also not doing too well. Luckily the kids had light symptoms and recovered within a few days.”

 Looking back, these are the lessons learned.
  • “Stock up on vitamins such as Vitamin C, D and Zinc. Eat healthily, and make sure that your immune system is healthy in order to fight this virus. The reality is that most of us will get it, and hopefully recover!
  • Prepare yourself mentally that the chances are good that you, or someone close to you, are going to get Covid-19. We all focus on preventing it, but we need to also be prepared for when, and if, you do get sick.
  • Ask if you need help. There are wonderful people out there, and you cannot do life alone!

  • Give yourself time to pause and process the information first before you act and start phoning people.
  • Talk to your children and explain to them what is happening. Give them a chance to ask questions and to process the information too.
  • Be mindful that children are different and that they process information and stress differently. Do not talk too much and overload them with information that they don’t need. Stick to the main facts and let them guide you with the questions they ask. 
  • Be aware of signs that your children might be overloaded with emotions and help them process them. All sorts of pains, like stomach and headaches, crying, naughtiness, bedwetting, etc. are all signs that a child is overwhelmed emotionally. 
  • Give your child tools to express their emotions. Paint, draw, read stories, dance, move… Whatever your child needs at that moment.

  • Be aware of your own feelings and worries. Make sure that you take care of yourself physically and mentally, as your children will pick up on your emotions. 
  • Also be mindful that the people around you and the people you had close contact with will all process, handle and react differently to your positive result. And that is okay.
  • Children are amazingly resilient! My kids have taught me so much through this time!”
Erika has some keen and poignant advice. 

As she says, the chances of contracting Covid-19 are very real for most of us. 

We are so adept now with wearing our masks and sanitising and taking our temperatures… But have we sat and thought about the logistics and ramifications if a family member became unwell? If we become unwell? Who looks after our children? Who runs our business? Who gets the groceries in and cooks meals? 

No outside help is allowed. Sending your children to an elderly relative is not ideal. They are in a vulnerable position themselves. Being prudent and pragmatic about wearing your mask and taking the necessary Covid-19 safety precautions is wise. But, please also sit down with a cup of tea (or coffee), and think about the ‘what if?’. 

Then put a plan in place, and make the plan known to your loved ones. 

Eat well, exercise, take care, and be safe. 

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