This Mother’s Day, I looked into the sweet faces of my young children who brought me their interpretation of coffee, and I wondered about their future and if they would experience parenthood. I felt stymied about how to explain the experience of motherhood in America. There are constants when you look around the world – the love, the attachment, and the self reflection required to grow to be a good mother.
I look at the freedoms and opportunities that other women in other wealthy nations have access to, and I am heartbroken and frustrated at how America treats its mothers.
If this country cared about mothers, it would act like it. We would have policies that invest in children and invest in families. Instead, we push individuals to desperate places and ignore that it’s a system struggle. Mothers are gaslighted into believing we are experiencing individual struggles. We don’t have access to affordable healthcare, and we have some of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the developed world. Our existing systems create more problems than they solve, and it’s painful for mothers to watch as this nation has the resources but not the will to put its actions and funding behind its words.
This nation says it love mothers, but it doesn’t trust us. If it did, we would have control over our bodies and we would be trusted to make our own choices over our fertility and our lives.
This nation says it loves our children, but if it did, we would have national education policy that invests in all children. We wouldn’t lock up children, and we wouldn’t steal their parents for unjust amounts of time.
This nation says it love babies, but their mothers die at unacceptable rates. If you survive pregnancy and birth, your mother is taken from you shortly after you arrive – she has to work! We deny parental leave and pull mothers back to work, often while we are still bleeding from our wombs.
This Mother’s Day, I invite you to join me in dreaming of a world where mothers and our children are valued in America.
We should have healthcare that treats us as people and trusts us to make our own decisions about our bodies. We should have parental leave to recover and establish important bonds with our children. We should have safe, accessible, and affordable childcare. We should have employment policies that don’t penalize mothers. We should have education systems that invest in our children and their teachers. We should have a society that treats our children with dignity as they become adults and ensures humane working conditions. We should have access to safe, stable, and affordable housing.
Today, I invite you to dream of this world where America says AND shows that it cares about mothers. Tomorrow, I invite you to join MomRising or another mom-focused organization that is working to mobilize moms for meaningful change.
America can do better, and moms can make it happen.
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash