Mother’s Day Reflections on the Diverse Experiences of Motherhood

Mindy E. Scott, Marta Alvira-Hammond, Elizabeth Wildsmith



This Mother’s Day, the MAST Center and Child Trends have teamed up to compile some facts about the diverse (and changing) faces of motherhood, and some of the challenges that moms face. We first present information on childbearing itself and on women and mothers’1 relationships, family structures, and work experiences. We also consider some key challenges that mothers face and touch on some programs and policies that can support equitable outcomes for all mothers.

Motherhood in the United States takes many forms and has changed over time.

Mothers face stressors that go beyond just raising their families.

It’s good to celebrate motherhood, but it’s also important to remember that moms can use our support. Parenting can be stressful and challenging—even in the best of circumstances. U.S. mothers lack many of the supports provided elsewhere in the world, which can make parenting even more difficult and negatively impact mother’s well-being. For example:

Programs, policies, and services are available to support mothers and reduce disparities in maternal and infant well-being.

As we’ve shown, mothers need our help—and they need this support to be delivered equitably, regardless of their race, language spoken, or socioeconomic status. A number of programs, policies, and services at the state and federal levels directly address mothers’ challenges and aim to improve health equity and reduce disparities to better support all mothers. For example:



1We acknowledge that people other than those who identify as women can have children. For brevity, and reflecting the terminology used in the data sources cited, we refer to mothers and women throughout this resource.

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