Message from Emmy: Coronavirus March 2020

March 19, 2020 0 Comments

Emmy McCarthy, the founder of Amsterdam Mamas, sent a message to the Amsterdam Mamas Facebook community on 18 March, 2020 about the way our community can best meet the unprecedented challenges of this time. 

A MESSAGE FROM AMSTERDAM MAMAS' EMMY McCARTHY 

Hello Community,

This has been a bit of a week so far, hasn’t it? As Prime Minister Rutte said on Monday night, we feel that we are on a roller coaster going faster and faster.

These are unusual times, in ten years of Amsterdam Mamas we have never seen anything like this. In my lifetime, I have never seen anything like this. It is completely understandable that right now we are all experiencing a whole range of emotions.

I wanted to talk to you today about Amsterdam Mamas, and about you as a community. You will have seen that in the past couple of weeks the admin team has been working hard to bring you trusted, reliable information, to direct you to posts to get your questions answered and help you share information with others. It’s been a very challenging time for the admins, the workload is high and we are extremely grateful for all our volunteer admins, current and former, across all our groups who are pulling together to support you.

It’s been a hard time for the community. You are naturally worried and fearful; you’re dealing with school and work closures, many of you are far from loved ones and your home countries.

Every day, before he leaves for school I ask my son to do two things, be brave and be kind. Today I am asking the same of you.

We have so much compassion for you right now. These are very challenging times, but we will get through them and the way we're going to do it is together.

Every day, before he leaves for school I ask my son to do two things, be brave and be kind. Today I am asking the same of you.

We are going to need to be brave. Our children are looking to us for guidance and reassurance right now, when they look back on this time we want them to remember that the grown-ups around them kept them safe and calm. We want them to feel that way, even if we don’t feel safe and calm on the inside. We need to be brave so that our children can feel brave.

And we’re going to ask you to be kind. To yourselves, to each other, and to those of us who are working to keep you informed in a fast-moving situation. I have been very proud of the community this past week. You have leaned into the values that we built Amsterdam Mamas upon, particularly those of trust and support.

These are hard times. We are a global community and we know that you are receiving information from everywhere right now: from your friends, your families, social media, the press, and the government. We are in a time of information overwhelm.

As an organisation, we are listening very carefully to the advice of the Dutch government and WHO. They are the ones with access to the experts, we are not.

Here in Amsterdam Mamas, we can see that all you want to do is keep everyone safe; you want to share what you’ve learnt to keep your families safe and each other safe. However, we need you to be mindful of what is a fact, what is best practice, and what is opinion. We want to make sure that we are sharing facts and that the facts are coming only from official sources. Please help us do that.

As an organisation, we are listening very carefully to the advice of the Dutch government and WHO. They are the ones with access to the experts, we are not. We believe that following the advice of the government is the minimum that we should be doing. That means that we socially distance, limit our contact with people outside our families, and make sure that we stay as healthy as possible. It is the minimum. If you are able to do more than that - and we recognise that not everybody can - then we believe that it is good to do so. This is not official advice and we are not presenting it as official advice. We cannot do that, we are simply asking you to reflect as a community on the difference right now between what you need and what you want and to ask yourself “do I need to do this right now or could it wait?”

We will continue to provide the best information we can; we will continue to adjust our admin approach in line with new information as it occurs; and we will do our very best to keep supporting you, our community, with whatever you need.

For my family, we are staying indoors away from others for as much as possible. We have limited our supermarket trips and only one person goes out when we need to shop. We go outside for fresh air and exercise but we have chosen not to visit playgrounds or have playdates. This is a choice we’ve made because it is right for our family and we believe it is best for the community around us.

We recognise that your choices might be different.

While I know that many of you would feel safer if you saw more people socially isolating, staying away from playgrounds, etc. I hope you also recognise that unless the government changes their position on this, it will not be a requirement. Please try to be compassionate to each other through this. We cannot know why people make the choices they do, if you don’t understand please try asking before you judge. Stay connected to each other, we have never needed each other more and it will take all of us to beat this. Shaming and judging others very rarely makes them change their behaviour anyway. It just causes unrest and division. Let’s not do it.

As for the admin team: We will continue to provide the best information we can; we will continue to adjust our admin approach in line with new information as it occurs; and we will do our very best to keep supporting you, our community, with whatever you need. We are lucky to have direct support from Facebook’s Community Team as we do this and we are grateful for the relationships we have built over the years with other organisations in the Netherlands who are helping us through this time. Make sure you are checking the weekly discussion post and the Coronavirus Unit in this group. You can find them by clicking on the word UNIT on the menu inside the group.*

Above all though, we are grateful for you, our community, you have shown immense resilience already and we know more will be asked of you in the coming weeks. This is truly a time where we will stand and face what is coming, together.

Stay brave, stay kind, stay healthy.

Emmy McCarthy
Founding Mama

SUMMARY:

- Amsterdam Mamas continues to follow official advice concerning Coronavirus and we ask for your help to do this.
- Do more than the minimum that is being asked of you, if you can.
- Be brave and be kind to each other.
- We are all in this together and we are here to support you.

* Amsterdam Mamas' website will be updating its article on Covid-19/Coronavirus Information and Resources as new information arrives

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Amsterdam Mamas is a volunteer-run foundation providing information and support to international parents in Amsterdam and the surrounding regions.