Women Who Quarantine - The stories of women warriors from around the world doing their part to fight this deadly pandemic.
Welcome to our next interview for "Women Who Quarantine" with Carrie Chojnowski!
Carrie is both a dear friend and colleague of mine. The area I appreciate most about her is that she continuously strives to be a better person in all she does! I have always found that very beautiful!
Last summer she moved to Italy with her husband and children, while also pregnant with their third child. She now resides in Vicenza, one of the hot spots for the Coronavirus.
Name: Carrie Chojnowski
Location: Vicenza, Italy
Profession: Naturopathic Doctor and Mother
How is your heart truly doing during this uncharted time?
To be honest, my heart is really all over the place. I gave birth to my third child, a baby girl named Luna, right before the quarantine in Italy. I wasn’t anticipating this level of isolation coupled with being newly postpartum. It's also been difficult, because my mother-in-law was helping a lot prior to Luna's birth, but now is no longer allowed to be with us. We were really looking forward to her assistance and company in the early days postpartum. In addition, my five-year old twins, Mia and Nico, have been out of school since the end of February. I have had to adjust having them both at home all day along with a new baby. Sometimes, my heart feels anxious and overwhelmed, especially with the idea that my children are growing up in this very intense and uncertain time, but I quickly reign it in until I feel a sense of peace.
Ultimately, I believe that it is their soul’s contract to be alive in this world at this time. Therefore, I feel it is my job, as their mother, to bring a sense of peace and calm into the home, while also setting an example for them. When I am in the present moment, I feel joy because we are all together. We have our health, as well as everything else we need. There is so much love in my home right now as we spend all of our time together enjoying our new family of five. When I focus on that, there is nothing but love.
What has been most challenging about being home?
Several things have been very challenging: the isolation and the inability to go for a walk just for the sake of going for a walk (our lockdown means that you can’t go out unless it is to the pharmacy, grocery store, or hospital and only one from the family can go). I miss taking the kids out to the park, especially since Spring is in full swing in Italy right now.
What good have you seen come out of this pandemic?
I have seen my family connect on a deeper level. My husband and I are making a concerted effort to support one another with love and kindness, even when we are both a bit stir-crazy and irritable. I feel like we’re giving each other more grace right now, too. Also, it has been wonderful to have this time with our new baby, while being able to adjust without the added craziness of all of our typical schedules to contend with!
Is there any advise you would give to other women that you have found helpful or wish you knew before entering quarantine?
A close friend sent an article to me by Michael Meade called, “To Not Abandon Ourselves.” In it he says, “We have to be careful not to abandon ourselves as we temporarily release aspects of our social identity.”. He discusses further that by going deeper into our discomfort, we may make ourselves more whole, returning to life with “deeper connection to both meaning and purpose.” Meade says that, “What changes the soul can also change the world”, and I deeply believe this. I frequently return to his article to remind myself that, by willingly entering into discomfort with an open heart - it can be a game changer.
Is there something special you are doing to take care of yourself during this time?
I make sure to get outside every day. I sit in the yard and just breathe deeply, bask in the sun, or walk around. It reminds me to be present and in that present moment I am safe, my family is safe, and we have everything we need. This brings me deep peace, which I try to hold onto throughout the day. I’m now a few weeks postpartum and feeling good. I also re-started my yoga practice, which always makes me feel better after I take the time to do it (even if it's only for five minutes). I’ve been praying each day, focusing on everything that I am grateful for. I also pray for those who need support, love, and peace, specifically for: those who are caring for the sick, those who are dying in isolation, and those who are having babies alone. If I had given birth to Luna one day later, I would have been without my husband and baby, while being held at the hospital for 7 days; so this feels especially important to me right now. I’ve also been connecting with friends and family regularly through FaceTime so that we all don’t feel as isolated.
Carrie’s IMMUNE ENHANCING TEA
(made for a large mason jar)
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Sending you lots of love and joy,