Momview: Starring Mell Wood
Updated: Mar 16, 2022
Can you share a little bit about yourself?
Hi there! I’m first and foremost a momma to two young boys. They’re my world. I’m also a wife to a really wonderful guy. I have a degree in social work but have spent my career doing everything from social work to documentary making to HR to co-founding a nonprofit! My passions include meeting new people, traveling, eating French fries anywhere at any time, doing things that help make the world a little bit better, and writing.
What was your birthing experience(s) like?
My two birthing experiences were very different from each other. With my first son, I hemorrhaged 8 days postpartum and had to have surgery to save my life. Looking back, there were many things that my medical team could and should have done differently. My second birthing experience was much better than my first. Although I gave birth at the start of the pandemic, I felt very supported and heard by the medical team that was caring for me.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve had as a mom? Do you think some of them, or all of them, could have been avoided or lessened if we had a more supportive maternal culture in America?
My biggest struggle as a mom, so far, has been the severe postpartum depression I’ve experienced after the birth of my sons. After both births, my PPD interfered with my life to the point where I needed to receive mental health treatment. I’ve never experienced something like that, and I’ll be forever grateful to my husband and closest girlfriends who gave me the support I needed to navigate through it. I know that if America’s healthcare system was set up to support postpartum moms in all the ways they deserve to be supported, that I would have had a different postpartum journey. I don’t think my PPD wouldn’t have gotten so severe. Having one six-week quick check-up on a new mom isn’t postpartum care. That’s just checking a box.
In your opinion, how do we evoke and incite a sisterhood of motherhood?
I think we need to address the fact that we live in a society that profits, in many ways, from us not having a sisterhood of motherhood.
We’re well aware that deep inequality exists among moms in America. How do you think we help amplify allmom’s voices?
As a white mom, I think other white moms need to acknowledge that maternal inequality exists and that our voices are so often unfairly amplified and trusted more. We need to do the inner work of not only addressing any biases we might have but be honest with ourselves about how we might be profiting off the inequalities that exist. And how that might keep us from amplifying other mom’s voices. Once we’ve done that, we need to use our voices to help amplify the voices of moms that aren’t currently being amplified.
Speaking of maternal inequality, how do you think we go about encouraging moms to care about other mom’s problems, even if they aren’t shared problems?
I think this one is tough because it seems like the ‘every mom for herself’ mentality runs so deep. But I think if we give platforms to all different types of moms, and we amplify what their lives are like, what they think, need, and want that we’ll start chipping away at that ‘every mom for herself’ mentality. And that we’ll start to develop more empathy and humanity towards one another.
If you could create a new maternal culture tomorrow, what would it look like?
It would be built on sisterhood, with layers of supportive maternal policies that help all moms, mixed with community, topped with respect for moms from society.
We talk about how you can’t put the maternal social policy cart before the maternal connection and equality horse. Do you agree with that?
In a perfect world, I think they happen together. And maybe they can. But I think that so often truly transformative policies take too long. And so, doing what we can as a community, and a society is, I believe, where we start. We start by building a sisterhood of motherhood, encouraging empathy, and educating on inequality.
What maternal social policies do you think the U.S. should have? And why?
First and foremost, I think we need to ensure that any maternal social policies we have benefits allmoms. We need to have policies in place that ensure safe, equal, and competent maternal healthcare. We need to have a rich parental leave policy and childcare policies that are safe, affordable, and accessible to all families. We need to have policies that ensure equal pay and equal career opportunities for moms.