Mother’s Day Reflections on the Diverse Experiences of Motherhood

Research BriefMaternal & Child HealthMay 11 2023

This Mother’s Day, the Marriage Strengthening Research & Dissemination 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.

This brief was created in partnership with the Marriage Strengthening Research & Dissemination Center.

a mother holds her baby

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:


[1] We 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.

The MAST Center is made up of national experts in marriage and relationship research and practice led by Child Trends in partnership with the National Center for Family and Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University. The MAST Center is supported by grant #90PR0012 from the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in the Administration for Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The MAST Center is solely responsible for the contents of this brief, which do not necessarily represent the official views of the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, the Administration for Children and Families, or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Suggested Citation

Scott, M.E., Alvira-Hammond, M., & Wildsmith, E. (2023). Mother’s Day reflections on the diverse experiences of motherhood. Child Trends.