On Wednesday, a lawyer who, in 2011, shared a deposition room with Donald Trump and his lawyers and asked to take a break from the deposition to pump her breast milk was called "disgusting" by Trump, according to CNN. Elizabeth Beck told CNN when she asked for a break, "He [Trump] got up, his face got red, he shook his finger at me and he screamed, 'You're disgusting, you're disgusting,' and he ran out of there." One of Trump's lawyers who was present at the time, Allen Garten, more or less accused Beck of using breast pumping as an excuse, saying, "She ran out of questions and she didn't know what to do," CNN reported. Being disturbed and "disgusted" by Beck's need to breast pump, Trump's comments (once again) call attention to a serious and often underrepresented issue within American culture. In this case, we're forced to take a closer look at our nation's treatment of mothers. While Trump might not be interested in allowing working mothers to pump breast milk, thankfully there are several organizations that make mothers' needs and interests a priority.
Access to safe and private areas for breastfeeding during work is certainly just one of the issues facing mothers in the United States. There's also the huge issue of inadequate paid time off for parental leave. Currently, there are no federal laws on the books that require paid leave for new parents. There's also the matter of cost-prohibitive but necessary baby supplies, and overall psychological challenges to parenting, for which there are few institutional supports. Here are some groups that are working to make parenting just a little easier for mothers in need of support.
MomsBloom is a not-for-profit organization in Western Michigan that provides support to mothers and parents. MomsBloom's goal is to set healthier and more reasonable expectations for parenting, so that mothers don't feel the burdensome pressure to be "Superwoman." By providing programs that seek to fill gaps that may exist due to the inability of extended family to help out, or limited financial resources, the organization seeks to create a community where new mothers and parents can receive caring and non-judgmental guidance and assistance as they navigate parenthood.
The Mommies Network
The Mommies Network is an online support system for women that offers free online parenting classes, as well as a safe community for mothers to seek advice, guidance, and encouragement from other mothers. In providing these outlets and services, The Mommies Network aims to "empower [mothers] to become better women, parents, and community leaders."
Mothers Of Transgender Children
Mothers Of Transgender Children is not as much a formal group as an online resource center and blog for mothers who have transgender kids. The site's creator has kept a blog for several years detailing her experience with her transgender son, offering guidance and insights to other mothers. She also provides an extensive list of resources for parents of trans children to consult.
National Diaper Bank Network
According to the National Diaper Bank Network (NDBN) website, one in three families experience "diaper need," meaning that the family has a "lack of a sufficient supply of diapers to keep a baby clean, dry and healthy." Because many daycare centers will not care for babies who do not have a full day's supply of diapers provided by parents, and staying in a soiled diaper for too long can have adverse health effects for babies, NDBN works to meet the urgent need for diapers by supporting diaper banks across the U.S. If you are currently in need of diapers, check out the NDBN membership list at NationalDiaperBankNetwork.org.
Extended Family is a not-for-profit that focuses on assisting single parents. Parents with financial need and sole custody of their child or children are identified by Extended Family and their partner organizations to receive financial assistance and help related to housing, food, transportation, and other necessities. Extended Family is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, and their website states that 100 percent of donations to the organization are directed to selected single parents.
Volunteers Of Legal Service Incarcerated Mothers Law Project
According to Volunteers of Legal Service's website, there are approximately 4,000 children who have a mother being held in a New York State correctional facility. The VOLS Incarcerated Mothers Law Project provides in-person legal counsel to imprisoned mothers in New York, and advises them regarding issues that may arise related to foster care, adoption, custody, and other parental rights.