The Kid Angle: Three perfect gifts for Mom this Mother’s Day

Forget about chocolate. Let’s dispense with flowers. They’re both nice gestures. But if we really want to tell this nation’s mothers that they are valued, that they matter, that they play a pivotal, irreplaceable role in our democracy, we need more than gestures. Here are three gifts worth giving our moms:

  1. A National Maternal Health Plan: Moms spend most of their time taking care of others. It’s about time we take care of them. We must invest in a national maternal health program that improves mental health care for moms, collects better data on their health care needs, addresses social determinants of health such as housing, transportation, and nutrition, grows and diversifies the home visiting and perinatal workforce, and promotes maternal vaccination. Why? Because U.S. mothers die at a higher rate than mothers in any other high-income country. And Black women are nearly three times as likely to die as white women.
  2. Paid Family & Medical Leave: The U.S. is the only wealthy country without a national paid leave policy. Paid leave improves maternal mental health, raises childhood immunization rates, and reduces infant mortality, which is significantly higher in the U.S. than in other developed nations.
  3. Postpartum Insurance Coverage: More than half of maternal deaths occur within a year of pregnancy. Continuous insurance coverage, through private companies or expanded Medicaid, is crucial for protecting mothers’ health postpartum. Maternal mortality is on the rise nationwide, but states that expanded Medicaid after the passage of the Affordable Care Act have seen much smaller increases than states that did not. Research has determined that more than 80% of U.S. maternal deaths between 2017-2019 could have been prevented.