This year Mother’s Day is a little different – for me, and for all moms.
This is my first time celebrating as a new mom myself; I am the loving mother of a delightful eight-month-old daughter. This also marks the second Mother’s Day celebrated during a global pandemic that has upended life, and motherhood, as we know it. Even as vaccination rates are increasing, there are still limits on our ability to safely gather and celebrate the moms in our lives, whether they’re just beginning their parental journey (like me) or experiencing the joy of a new grandchild (like my mom and mother-in-law). Once again, we find ourselves reimagining how to celebrate and support each other.
I’ve been incredibly privileged over the last year to be healthy before, during, and after pregnancy. I’ve been well supported in navigating motherhood at home and at work. My husband and I have access to safe, reliable childcare. I’ve found happiness and fulfillment in becoming a mom, even in the context of COVID-19. There have been struggles but, generally, my little family is thriving.
I also know that this isn’t case for everyone. Pregnancy-related depression and anxiety are the most common complications of pregnancy. Add in social isolation, economic instability, the ongoing reckoning with racism in America, and health impacts of COVID-19, and many, many moms are struggling with their mental health. Moreover, structural inequities based on race and class can intensify these challenges.
Mother’s Day is an important opportunity to mark the contributions of mothers to our lives and our society. As we do so, it’s also important to acknowledge how tough the last year has been for so many. It’s critical for the health of the whole family that moms get the support and treatment they need to thrive. If untreated, depression and anxiety can have long-lasting impacts on the health and well-being of mothers and their children.
Whether you’re gathering with your vaccinated family, doing a socially distant outdoor brunch, or celebrating on Zoom; check in with the moms in your life to see how they’re doing and how you can help them access mental health care if or when they need it.