We Need To Do More To Help Mothers In America

We Need To Do More To Help Mothers In America

How can we best support new moms in America?
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With Mother’s Day here, it seems appropriate to look at how America’s mothers are doing. And sad to say it isn’t good, America is “most dangerous affluent country in which to give birth” with over 60% of deaths being preventable according to the CDC Foundation.

Deaths aren’t the only thing, there are other medical conditions as well, some of which can be a lifelong struggle to cope with, so what is going on? “The reasons include striking declines in the health of women giving birth and inequities in access to insurance and maternity care... Medicaid, which pays for half of all U.S. births, covers many mothers only up to two months past delivery. As a result, for low-income women, pre-existing conditions that imperiled one delivery may go unseen and untreated until the next pregnancy.”

The combination of poor or less accessible healthcare, plus an increase in needing healthcare presents a double whammy of poor effects, and a vicious cycle of mother’s not getting the help they need.

It is also important to note, “what some experts have dubbed “delay and denial” — the failure of doctors and nurses to recognize a woman’s distress signals and other worrisome symptoms, both during childbirth and the often risky period that follows.” This is a dangerous trend. It reminds me of the story of doctors learning how to break bad news.

At one point doctors wouldn’t even tell patients about a terminal diagnosis. But with the pioneering of Rob Buckman, with some help from Monty Python (seriously listen to the linked podcast it’s an amazing story) doctors learned how to break bad news, and it starts with listening and empathizing. Without empathizing with patients, and listening to them, doctors are missing important details about their patient's conditions which are leading to serious health implications.

That’s not everything though.

Incredibly important to understand is the experience of mothers and their babies who are people of color. From one New York Times Story, "Black infants in America are now more than twice as likely to die as white infants — 11.3 per 1,000 black babies, compared with 4.9 per 1,000 white babies, according to the most recent government data — a racial disparity that is actually wider than in 1850, 15 years before the end of slavery, when most black women were considered chattel. In one year, that racial gap adds up to more than 4,000 lost black babies.

Education and income offer little protection. In fact, a black woman with an advanced degree is more likely to lose her baby than a white woman with less than an eighth-grade education.”

So what is the solution? For one thing an increase in healthcare available. This can look like doula services which there is evidence has been helping women of color, also more accessible healthcare, such as a Medicare for all. Also, the medical professions need to do a better job at listening to our mothers, in fact, we all probably could do a better job at listening to our mothers.

Cover Image Credit: Joshua Rodriguez

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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Come To Terms With Having An Imperfect Relationship With Your Parents And Accept Them As They Are

We expect our parents to eventually change and accept us for who we are, to see our sides, and to not take us for granted. But when this doesn't happen, we get incredibly furious.
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Despite coming from an Asian household, my relationship with my parents is not always governed by the classic "respect your elders" and "honor the family" values. Don't get me wrong though, I do hold true to these sayings, but with a grain of salt.

For those of us who do not have the good fortune of having healthy, happy relationships with our parents, there comes a moment of enlightenment when we realize that we will never have those kinds of relationships with our parents. That is absolutely OK.

In my case, this happened in the first semester of my first year of college. I was living away from home and was surprised by the unusually loving behavior of my mom and dad. However, once I started commuting from home the next semester, the loving gestures like texting me to ask me how my day or wanting to have a chat with me just because, ended and I felt like I was back to square one with my parents. I had hoped that the distance would make my parents be more expressive and open with me (which it did) but that was gone in an instant I was back home. I had the same old arguments with my parents and felt like a high school student all over again.

We expect our parents to eventually change and accept us for who we are, to see our sides, and to not take us for granted. But when this doesn't happen, we get incredibly furious. Then we feel incredibly guilty for being such bad children who just can't listen to their parents. This guilt forces us to deal with so much emotional abuse, manipulation, and stress until we realize that our parents are people. We are allowed to not get along with them.

Once I realized that I will neither be able to fully satisfy my parents nor will they treat me fairly, I was able to accept them for who they were. By not holding them up to expectations they couldn't meet, my parents became more human and their flaws were those of people, rather than of my parents. All of my hurt feelings subsided as everything became less personal.

Relationships between our parents dictate our choices, our treatment of others, and our treatment of ourselves. It's important to know that you are not at fault for not loving your parents to the moon and back and that you should not feel guilty for something you cannot control. Parents are not black or white, they are gray in that they give us life and we owe them respect and acknowledgment, but that doesn't guarantee love and harmony.

It is OK to be a "bad" child if that means doing what is best for you.

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