Feature: Maternal love makes women stronger in China's anti-epidemic battle
TIANJIN, May 10 (Xinhua) -- Many Chinese female medics have a shared identity, "mother," which grants them great strength in the fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.
This year's Mother's Day falls on Sunday, a chance for people to show affection to their mothers. Since tens of thousands of female medical staff fought fearlessly on the front line against the deadly virus across the country, the annual celebration may take on special significance for these brave mothers.
SUPERWOMAN IN DAUGHTER'S EYES
Wearing a white coat and a mask as usual, Chen Guijun, 55, still works a 12-hour a day at a fever clinic and is busy doing physical examinations for patients with fever, asking their medical history and travel paths, and discussing treatment regimens with specialists online almost every day.
Chen is a doctor of the infectious disease department in a hospital located in Jizhou District in north China's Tianjin Municipality. Since Jan. 21, she has bravely battled the virus.
"I fought with the SARS virus 17 years ago. Though my physical strength is no longer what it once was, my sense of responsibility never faded," Chen said.
Chen rarely went home due to her heavy workload in the first two months after the epidemic outbreak. She also barely had time to check her phone at work. Making a phone call or chatting on video with her daughter would be luxuries for Chen.
Shi Huihua, 19, Chen's daughter, once saw her mother on the WeChat account of the hospital. "Her face was slightly deformed under the mask, and she was so exhausted she fell asleep just leaning on the desk," Shi said.
In Shi's eyes, her mother was a superwoman to protect people's lives. As a medical student at Tianjin Medical University, she understood why her mother devoted herself to her beloved career.
Shi became an "invisible assistant" of her mother. She shared the latest news to Chen, and told her by phone calls or messages about the number of patients waiting for a diagnosis as shown on the hospital's website.
"I bought my mom a lipstick for Mother's Day. I hope she will put on red lips to show her beautiful smile after taking off her mask," Shi said, adding, "I will be like my mother to protect my patients in the future, which is the glory of angels in white."
SON'S NAME ON HAZMAT SUIT GIVES STRENGTH
Recalling her days in the city of Wuhan, the former epicenter of the COVID-19 epidemic in central China, 31-year-old nurse Liu Xiaomeng still felt full of energy to fight against the deadly virus when seeing her son's name on her heavy hazmat suit.
Liu was among the first batch of medical staff from Tianjin who were dispatched to Wuhan on Jan. 26.
In the early days in Wuhan, Liu's husband told her that their son would bring her pajamas with him whenever he was eating, playing or sleeping. "I couldn't talk with my son by video because I worried he would cry when he saw me. So I secretly saw what he was doing through video calls," Liu said.
When many other medics wrote their favorite stars' names on their hazmat suits, Liu wrote down her 3-year-old son's name instead, as if the little boy accompanied her in the anti-virus fight in his own special way.
Liu's medical team came back to Tianjin on March 17. After 14 days of quarantine, her son gave Liu a warm hug. "It was the happiest moment for a mother," said Liu.
"Mothers are models for their kids. I hope my experience in Wuhan can inspire my son when he grows up and he will be proud of me," said Liu.
"WARRIOR IN WHITE" ON PAINTING
A painting with the words "Happy Women's Day, my goddess" became 39-year-old Wang Yifeng's special gift on March 8. It was drawn by her 11-year-old daughter.
"My child told me that she wanted to celebrate the International Women's Day for me and congratulated me on the completion of my work in a makeshift hospital in Wuhan," Wang said.
Wang is a head nurse of a hospital in Tianjin, who was also dispatched to aid local colleagues in Wuhan in February.
In the ward, her body was drenched in sweat by wearing thick protective gear and her throat went hoarse after hours of work without eating or drinking. However, her daughter's face and voice were the best medicine to cure her tiredness.
"I shared video clips of our work in Wuhan with my daughter. She was proud of me after seeing these videos," Wang said.
Her daughter also wrote a poem to Wang. "Mom, you are my eternal angel. When I grow up, I hope to be like you in the future, who dares to sacrifice for our motherland."
During the epidemic, a large number of mothers gained energy from their kids, who also learned the spirit of dedication through their mother's actions. For them, this year's Mother's Day takes on special significance.