When it comes to basic resources and support for parents and their children, the United States falls sharply behind the vast majority of other developed countries. In fact, the U.S. is the only wealthy country in the world without any guaranteed paid leave on a federal level, including parental leave or any national family caregiving or medical leave policy. We’ve also got precious few resources available to parents, a fact that’s highlighted as healthcare and education costs continue to soar—though lawmakers send hundreds of billions elsewhere for bombs and other war weaponry, of course.
Related: We deserve better: American mothers have been neglected for way too long
One TikTok is emphasizing these grim stats, and it’ll make you both laugh and cry all at once. Travel pros and parents Scott and Collette (@roamaroo) put their spin on the “We’re Americans” trend, shining light on what it’s like to raise kids in the land of the free.
“We’re Americans. We can’t take a day off if our kid is sick, so we send them to daycare and get everyone else’s kids sick,” begins Collette. “We’re Americans. Our childcare costs more than our rent,” adds Scott. (Yep, it’s true.)
Sitting at her computer with her toddler in tow, Colette adds, “We’re Americans. We expect women to work like they don’t mother and mother like they don’t work.”
“We’re Americans. We have policies of forced pregnancy, but no access to affordable basic healthcare or childcare,” says Scott. “It’s horrible.”
“We have the worst maternal death rate of developed countries and no postpartum care,” continues Collette. “Because if you have a baby, that’s on you.” (Pssst… it’s even worse for Black American women, who face a maternal mortality rate of 2.6 times higher than their white counterparts, regardless of income or education levels.)
Lastly, Scott concludes: “We’re Americans. We believe that paid family leave will hurt the economy even though research shows that it would increase our GDP (gross domestic product) by 5%.”
In the caption of their post, the couple shared resources for those who are angry and upset by these statistics, which impact all U.S. parents, but not proportionally. Marginalized identities and lower-income Americans face the most barriers to care and support, and the ripple effects impact their physical and emotional well-being in ways big and small. Of course, that’s without mentioning the impacts on their babies, too.
Commenters then shared their own thoughts, with one person calling it “the saddest, truest post.” Another wrote: “My OB office wouldn’t allow me to bring my exclusively breastfed newborn to my postpartum check-ups. Make it make sense ”
Related: The system to support motherhood is currently broken—it’s time to fix it
“We just had twins and daycare is 3600 a month” wrote one user, while another said: “I went back to work 8 days after I had my second child so we wouldn’t be evicted. The week after Christmas. The American dream.”
Ah, yes, we’re Americans. Where “pro-life” really just means “pro-birth,” because there’s not going to be much support for you during any step of the way. Aside from expressing your concerns to your local elected officials and voting for candidates who support affordable healthcare and education policies, the pair recommends following orgs like Paid Leave for All, Moms First, and Mothering Justice. All three are grassroots organizations working towards supporting parents in the U.S., because let’s face it, change is far overdue.