Five ways we can make the country better for moms this Mother’s Day

BY: Nina Joung

This Mother’s Day, we’re presenting our top five stories about supporting mothers across the country.

1. Encourage them to pursue their #EverydayHustle to make ends meet.

Cecilia Brentlinger came from Peru as a single mother, saw the female taxi drivers going across Time Square and thought, “If they can do it, so can I.” She started driving to give her son a better life and has stuck through even the most challenging parts of the on-demand driver job to keep up with New York City’s cost of living.

2. Listen to pregnant women, especially Black pregnant women, when they express their needs and concerns.

These midwives are bringing power and support back to pregnant mothers — black mothers in particular. More women in America die from pregnancy-related complications than in any other developed country in the world, and black women are most affected. In Memphis, Tennessee, midwives are working to facilitate better outcomes by bringing holistic care to women of color.

3. Let them share their stories and life lessons.

Lana Cheung was raised by her mother in a single-parent household. Her mother’s love traveled with Lana from Hong Kong to Macau. Even after her mother’s death, Lana found love in three pieces of advice from her. She tells us her full life’s story here as part of our essay series sharing the stories of Chinese Americans: “We Built New York: Honoring Chinese Workers“.

“[My mother] had these three rules:

  1. Don’t be afraid of hard work and taking on more responsibilities.

  2. Don’t get caught in gossip and negativity; see the good in people.

  3. Never stop learning.

I used to think that the first rule was just a scheme … to get me to do more chores.”

4. Help distressed mothers bond with their babies.

In 2011, Carnegie Hall started the “Lullaby Project” pairing pregnant women and new mothers with professional musicians to write and sing personal lullabies for their newborns. This project becomes especially helpful for mothers who find themselves in particularly stressful situations that have a harder time connecting emotionally with their babies. For this reason, the Lullaby Project has been implemented in hospitals, homeless shelters, schools, and even on Rikers Island.

5. Read this book.

When she went back to work one day after having her second child, author Amy Westervelt realized America’s policies towards mothers needed to be fixed. In “Forget Having It All: How America Messed Up Motherhood – and How to Fix It,” Westervelt explores the history of American beliefs about motherhood and offers policy remedies. She recently spoke with our partners at NewsHour Weekend.