As children, we can’t understand what our caretakers undergo in fostering our development. We don’t think about the circumstances, risks, and discomfort of our mother’s pregnancy, the pressure she felt to give us a life that was equal to our dreams, her uncertainty in her ability to satisfy our basic needs, and the constant calculus she performed to balance the demands of daily life with our unrelenting dependence. To imagine the reasons that spurred our parents to proliferate at all exceeds the limits of our comprehension.
Knowing now that nearly 20 women die in 100,000 live births in the U.S., that a family could spend thousands of dollars delivering and hundreds of thousands of dollars raising a single child to maturity, and that no one can predict what a child will become, it seems, perhaps, our parents had lost their minds in deciding to bring us into existence. And yet, there would be no humanity without the commitment, however irrational, of billions of mothers and fathers, healthcare providers, teachers, and mentors who chose to care.
We are all the product of this process, and our future depends on its continuation. So, we find ourselves asking the same question that our mothers asked in thinking of us: how can we give those that follow a better life than our own? To promote exploration of this question and investment in the success of our families, our children, and our society, we’ve enumerated our thoughts and related research on reproductive health and early childhood development below.