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My Hopes for Maternal Health in 2021

2020 was to be the year of the mother, or so we saw floating around the socials. Little did we know that the working mother structure would crumble under the thumb of a pandemic. The mysterious ways women were commuting and working outside the home or juggling the work/home life under one roof remained just that-a mystery. Until February/March 2020. At this point, you couldn't count the time you saw headlines say, "Working mothers are struggling.", "Working mothers need help.", "Working mothers are being forced out of the corporate world.". My goodness. The stress working mothers were facing in 2020 were merely the tip of an iceberg no one tried to address. Employers were hands off, took a "not my problem" approach...the old "leave your problems at the door" approach and boy oh boy did that backfire.

Fast forward to the time of March 2020 when EVERYONE started talking about a long living problem with deep seeded roots...working mothers need our help. Yikes. Did it really take a pandemic and a whole lot of discomfort for employers and other working humans to really realize the pressure and stress that working mothers, heck working parents, are facing?

I'm sorry ya'll we've been failing this space. As public health professionals, you kind of take a double take at working moms...but don't we fall under the scope of maternal health? Ahaaa...yes there you go...let's make those connections. So here we are at the end of 2020 having survived under one roof with kids, work, spouses, partners, and pets. Managing deadlines and dinner. Zoom meetings and angry babies. So what's next?

On the cusp of a new year, I hope to see many things for maternal health. Let me tell you the top 5 things I really want to contribute to change in the new year of the mother. Can we just call it a redo?

Here goes:

  1. Increase resources to minimize food insecurity

  2. Help employers strategize offering flex-work to employees

  3. Create inspiration to make small steps towards health & wellness

  4. Highlighting adverse health outcomes of burnout & stress

  5. Empower mothers in their pregnancy, birth, & postpartum journeys

It is my personal belief that little minor tweaks throughout the weeks, months, and year can help us see strides in improvement for the maternal health space. And we are just beginning.

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