Mothers in America are worried. They are worried about maternal mortality rates and a lack of support for perinatal depression, not to mention the lack of paid family leave and the sky-high cost of childcare.
And America's moms aren't just sitting around and worrying, they're making sure that policymakers are hearing from the women who are making and raising America's babies.
On May 5-7 mamas from across the nation will gather in Washington, D.C., for Mom Congress, a multi-day convention aiming to amplify the problems with perinatal care, depression and birth in this country, and get lawmakers to take action through policy change.
Motherly Co-founder Liz Tenety will be speaking at Mom Congress because—as Tenety has previously noted—America's mothers feel like they are failing when really society is failing its mothers. In the most serious cases, it is failing to simply provide them with adequate care during childbirth.
"Giving birth in America is shockingly dangerous: Discrimination against women, and women of color in particular, has led to an appalling maternal health crisis — where women's voices are not heard, women's needs are not met, and they, as well as their children and families, suffer," Tenety explains.
The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world. According to the CDC, "about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications", and we know that black mothers are three to four times more likely to die during or after pregnancy or birth.
There has been some progress on this issue in recent months. In late 2018 the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act was signed into law, marking a major step in eliminating preventable maternal deaths in America, but more still needs to be done, and that's why the mothers (and others) headed to Mom Congress this weekend are pushing for further legislation to do things like modernize obstetric medicine standards and address implicit bias among providers in clinical settings. There are several bills Mom Congress is pushing for action on as part of its "Momnibus" policy platform because the issues impacting America's moms can't be solved with one policy.
Mom Congress is all about keeping the nation's moms and babies safe and it follows another recent mobilization of parents in Washington D.C. On April 30 a group of parents and advocates calling themselves "Strolling Thunder" arrived in D.C. and lived up to their name.
The parents pushing strollers and carrying tots were there to call for action on some of the issues nonpartisan early childhood development nonprofit ZERO TO THREE highlighted in its recent report, State of Babies Yearbook: 2019. These families came out to lawmakers know that a lack of affordable child care and federal paid leave policy is hurting them, and that they are worried about these policy gaps are impacting the next generations.
Events like Strolling Thunder and Mom Congress prove that while America's mothers may be the most stressed moms in the western world, they still have enough energy to call for change.
Remember mama, you don't have to go to D.C. to make your voice heard. Write to, tweet at and call your reps and let them know that you're a mother who wants action.
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