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Headlines about a partial government shutdown are eclipsing this good news, but late Friday the president signed an important piece of legislation, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017.

This is so important. This piece of legislation will help save mothers lives and is the first step in changing America's dire track record on maternal mortality.

The United States has the highest rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, a problem NPR and ProPublica have reported on extensively.

In other developed countries, the rate of maternal deaths has been going down in the last few decades, but in America, the rates have gone up.

According to the CDC, "about 700 women die each year in the United States as a result of pregnancy or delivery complications".

Now that federal funding for maternal mortality review committees (which review individual cases of maternal death) has been authorized through the signing of the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, we can find out why American mothers have been dying.

When the act finally made it to the president's desk earlier this month with bipartisan support and sponsors, the president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Dr. Lisa Hollier, called it "a major step toward eliminating preventable maternal deaths in our country."

The factors and circumstances around maternal deaths need to be understood so that they can be prevented. That's why this act is so important.

According to Hollier, "this landmark legislation has been a long-held goal for ACOG and is a crucial step to reversing our country's rising maternal mortality rate."

Families who have been devastated by maternal deaths are celebrating via social media this weekend.

Charles Johnson IV is raising his two young sons without their mother, Kira. She died in April 2016, just one day after her youngest was born during a scheduled c-section.

On an Instagram account dedicated to Kira's legacy, her family expressed gratitude to the act's sponsors and supporters.

"Thank you all for being relentless🙏🏾Thank you for believing that mothers and babies deserve better🧡 ," Kira's husband wrote.

As Dr. Hollier said earlier this month, "no more pregnant and postpartum women should die from preventable causes."

Children deserve to grow up with loving mothers, and America needs to find out why kids like Kira's boys don't get to.

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Motherhood is a practice in learning, growing and loving more than you ever thought possible. Even as a "veteran" mama of four young sons and one newly adopted teenager, Jalyssa Richardson enthusiastically adapts to whatever any given day has in store—a skill she says she's refined through the years.

Here's what just one day in her life looks like:


Jalyssa says she learned to embrace agility throughout her motherhood journey. Here's more from this incredible mama of five boys.

What is the most challenging part of your day as a mom of five?

Time management! I want to meet each of the boys' individual needs—plus show up for myself—but I often feel like someone gets overlooked.

What's the best part of being a mom of five?

The little moments of love. The hugs, the kisses, the cuddles, the smiles... they all serve as little reminders that I am blessed and I'm doing okay.

Are there misconceptions about raising boys?

There are so many misconceptions about raising boys. I think the biggest one is that boys don't have many emotions and they're just so active all the time. My boys display many emotions and they also love to be sweet and cuddly a lot of the time.

What do you think would surprise people the most about being a mom of five?

How much I enjoy it. I never knew I wanted to be a mom until I was pregnant with my first. My desire only grew and the numbers did! I am surprised with every single baby as my capacity to love and nurture grows. It's incredible.

How do you create balance and make time for yourself?

Balance for me looks like intentional planning and scheduling because I never want my boys to feel like they aren't my first priority, but it is extremely difficult. What I try to do is not fit it all into one day. I have work days because motherhood is my first priority. I fit in segments of self-care after the kids' bedtime so I don't grow weary.

What's the biggest lesson you have learned from motherhood?

I have learned that sacrifice is actually beautiful. I was terrified of the selflessness motherhood would require, but I've grown so much through the sacrifice. There is nothing better than living for something bigger than myself.

When did you first feel like a mom? How has your motherhood evolved?

I first felt like a mom when I was pregnant with my first son and I intentionally chose to change my eating habits so my body could be strong and healthy for him. I didn't have to think twice—I just did what I thought would be best for him. That decision being so effortless made me realize I was made for motherhood.

My perspective has changed with each baby as I've realized motherhood doesn't have to be one-size-fits-all. With my first son, I was a by-the-book mama and it was so stressful. With each baby, I have felt more freedom and it has made motherhood so much more beautiful. I have evolved into the mother that they need, I am perfect for these boys.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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