I never thought I would live to tell my child I experienced two devastating hurricanes (first, hurricane Georges in ’98). I had just become his mother and I had to learn to take care of a newborn while dealing with the consequences of a category 4 hurricane that covered all of Puerto Rico, my Island.
On September 20 last year, my prayers kept me sound minded while hearing the ferocious wind gusts and their pounding on my roof top. My son was a month and a half when hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. That night, the electricity was gone by 10pm already and we didn’t have a power generator. The day after the hurricane we woke up; and that was all that mattered. I heard over the radio the plight for help of many people whose houses were almost under water. We were beyond blessed because our house didn’t suffer at all.
When my husband went back to work after the disaster, I woke up early in the morning with the baby to take advantage of the sunlight everyday and do chores. Fortunately in our area we always had water service and I could wash our clothes manually and take a shower before sunset to make sure we were perfectly clean. How did I keep myself sane while taking care of my baby in the middle of the crisis? That’s the main reason why I’m sharing my story.
If you are a mom to be reaching your due date in this hurricane season, or you already have a child, please follow this reading until the end to get a few tips on how to survive mentally and physically the damage that causes a hurricane.
- I woke up everyday and prayed and gave thanks for our lives. Meditate on how blessed you are to be alive and to have your family in such a hard time
- I made a list of my to-dos to work on while the sun was up (we had no electricity for months)
- I searched the Internet for activities to help my son develop his sensory skills (cellphone service was restored in a month 😓)
- Read books to my son, more to keep myself busy and not to think of the crisis the Island was under
- I never skipped meals because I was breastfeeding exclusively. It also kept me energized
- Kept my flashlight close late afternoon, for when the night came I didn’t have to run to get it
- When the news on the radio weren’t motivating me, I listened to music
- Tried to entertain myself getting to know my baby more
- Enjoyed talking to my husband when he came back from work, since cellphone reception was not great and there was no cable tv or internet in the beginning. It truly refreshed the relationship
- I also went to visit my mother and we tried to focus on the upcoming holidays that would cheer our people up, after the tragedy and the scarcity of food, water, the loss of electricity and more important, the loss of many human beings that didn’t see how bad this hurricane was going to hit us. Others passed due to the circumstances (severe sickness, chronical conditions that required electricity)
- The key in a situation like this is to be prepared materially and mentally, from day one of the hurricane season, even if nothing happens in your state, country or area. Because if you are prepared, the chances of going through depression or lack of resources are less. And your child or children will feel more secure and at peace around you.
If some of you have experienced hurricane Irma or Maria and want to share more ideas, feel free to leave them in the comments. And if someone you know has gone through any type of natural disaster recently, please share this and I wish you find comfort in knowing that things like these happen, but you can overcome them.