America's mothers are in crisis: Are we listening?

Millions of mothers across America have been making the news, and it’s not all good.

Look at some of the recent headlines:

Washington Post: “Working moms are not okay.”

NPR: “Working Moms Are Reaching The Breaking Point.”

Forbes: “Pandemic Triples Anxiety And Depression Symptoms In New Mothers.”

A recent New York Times article, “America’s Mothers Are in Crisis. Is anyone listening to them?,” reported: “Almost 1 million mothers have left the workforce. … Almost one in four children experienced food insecurity in 2020. … And more than three quarters of parents with children ages 8 to 12 say the uncertainty around the current school year is causing them stress.”

Michael Madowitz, an economist at the Center for American Progress, said, “‘Just before the pandemic hit, for the first time ever, for a couple months, we had more women employed than men. And now we are back to late 1980s levels of women in the labor force.’ The long-term ramifications for mothers leaving work entirely or cutting back on work during this time include: a broken pipeline for higher-level jobs and a loss of Social Security and other potential retirement income.”

Dr. Philip Fisher, a professor of psychology who spearheads a national survey on the impact of the pandemic on families with young children, reported that the fallout on mothers is magnified by other issues, including poverty, race, having special needs children and being a single parent.

And how do all those familial employment and domestic battles affect the kids? Dr. Fisher continued, “People are having a hard time making ends meet, that’s making parents stressed out, and that’s causing kids to be stressed out.” He said this buildup can lead to toxic stress, “And we know from all the science, that level of stress has a lasting impact on brain development, learning and physical health.” Almost 70% of mothers say that worry and stress from the pandemic have damaged their health.

Health concerns and risks have been exacerbated by the vaccine rollout for pregnant women, as highlighted in the Washington Post article, “COVID antibodies are passed between vaccinated mothers and babies in utero and via breastmilk.”Very enlarged lymph nodes” under armpits captured by mammograms are also a consequence of the COVID vaccines, causing additional concern and anxiety.

Despite studies showing how the COVID vaccines create stronger immune responses and side effects like nausea and vomiting being triggered in pregnant moms, and subsequent consequences possibly affecting their babies in their wombs, the CDC recommends pregnant moms get vaccinated. But how can young or future mothers feel assured when hallmark institutions like Harvard Health describe vaccines for pregnant-breast-feeding women as “most likely safe“? Most likely?

And now, as a result of conflicting medical messages and personal convictions, pregnant working moms across the country are battling increased workplace stress by being peer pressured to vaccinate or lose their jobs. One waitress in New York, who was hoping to become pregnant and decided to defer getting the vaccine, was fired by her employer for refusing to get the shot.

Workers everywhere need to know that, according to new federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission guidance, employers can require them to be vaccinated BUT only under certain conditions, as reported by WebMD. And it won’t be easy to fire you, if you can stand the test and fight.

“If an employee cannot get vaccinated because of a disability or sincerely held religious belief, and there is no reasonable accommodation possible, [then] an employer could exclude the employee from physically entering the workplace,” says Johnny C. Taylor Jr., president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management.

Whatever happened to freedom of choice, especially over your own health care? Why is a woman’s right to choose defended when it comes to abortion, but it’s a woman’s right to lose when refusing to be vaccinated? (If you’re in such a medical-employment struggle, I encourage you read more about workers’ rights and what many U.S. representatives are doing right now to secure them. Employers better be prepared for vaccine firings to rightfully turn into wrongful termination lawsuits.)

On top of all the above maternal battles, moms also have been fighting yearlong struggles of securing and financing day care while simultaneously battling against school cancellations, restrictions and regulations when trying to get their kids back to class. Watch this desperate mother recently fighting against a school board in Georgia who, like most districts across our nation, continue to mandate masks on the smallest of children despite the risk of them contracting and being harmed by COVID is miniscule.

All of these recent maternal news stories and culture battles boil down to one thing: increased stress, anxiety and depression for moms across the U.S.

The Times “wanted to give mothers across the country the opportunity to scream it out, so they set up a phone line. Hundreds responded with shouts, cries, guttural yells, and lots and lots of expletives. A thirty-year-old mom with two kids under four captured what many moms are feeling with the following message: ‘I don’t know how to feel sane again. I’m just stuck in this position for God knows how much longer.'”

I’m often reminded of what President Trump would say, that the cure can’t be worse than the disease – but I believe it has been, especially for mothers.

Long after COVID decreases across the country, like it has radically dropped recently in California, parents (and mothers in particular) will be fighting with the mental, financial and familial fallout. Many of these consequences will be felt lifelong. We must come to their aid, and it starts right here, right now in your own home and extended family.

When the Times article asked in its title, “America’s Mothers Are in Crisis. Is anyone listening to them?,” my wife, Gena, and I immediately answered, “Absolutely!” That’s when I knew I had to share these news threads and maternal culture wars, and call Americans to action.

With Mother’s Day Sunday fast approaching, we have a supreme opportunity to turn the corner or at least bring some temporary reprieve by giving moms special treatment. I call on all men – fathers and sons – to triple treat the mothers in your life during the week of Mother’s Day. Don’t just bottle it up in one day, but spread that love, support and encouragement.

Here are three great ways to do it:

  1. Check out this great list of 50 ways to make mom feel great this Mother’s Day. And if those aren’t enough ideas, here are another 50 ways to lighten a mother’s mental load.
  1. This is a shameless plug, but it’s a great one for a great mother – mine! If the moms in your life like to read, give them an e-copy or paperback of my 100-year-old mom’s autobiography, “Acts of Kindness: My Story.” My mother is a survivor of the Great Depression, multiple battles with cancer, the death of two husbands and my younger brother in Vietnam, and is the last living survivor of her 11-member biological family. You think I’m tough? Wait until you read her story! I guarantee you it will greatly encourage the moms in your life to keep fighting for a better future. (In fact, I will be writing next week in my culture warrior column here about my 100-year-old mom [turning centurion on May 4!], so stay tuned for that exclusively at, and please share a copy with the moms in your life, too.)
  1. Regardless if you’re a person of faith or not, odds are the moms in your life are. Research shows that, after Christmas and Easter, attending church is at its highest levels each year on Mother’s Day. And here’s the added bonus: Harvard science shows church attendance calms the nerves and counters the health and stress fallout of the pandemic.

The Harvard School of Public Health published a fantastic article in 2020, “Regularly attending religious services associated with lower risk of [diseases and] deaths of despair.”

The article stated: “People who attended religious services at least once a week were significantly less likely to die from ‘deaths of despair,’ including deaths related to suicide, drug overdose, and alcohol poisoning, according to new research led by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” (Please underscore those three words: “significantly less likely.”)

Rev. Leroy Brownlow once said, “Mother is the heartbeat in the home. And without her, there seems to be no heartthrob.”

By all means, let’s all do all we can to keep our domestic maternal cardiologist’s heart pumping well and strong – for all of us.

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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