79 Percent of Moms Feel Invisible, New Survey Shows
How is it possible in a world where mothers are expected to do everything and be everything that their identities have been reduced to nothing beyond their title of mom? A new survey of over 3,600 seeks to understand the experiences of modern mothers and the painfully unseen, unsupported and under-appreciated lives they live across the US.
The new survey, conducted by Peanut—an app that aims to provide a safe space for women to meet and find support—takes to heart the experiences and stories over women on topics from how well theyve felt supported by healthcare to pressures put on them by themselves and others.
Answers from “The State of Invisibility” survey were analyzed to determine broad sentiments from the mothers surveyed and American mothers as a whole. According to survey, 79 percent feel invisible as mothers/potential mothers and shocking 95 percent feel unappreciated, unacknowledged or unseen in their role. Despite this air of invisibility though, 99 percent said they’ve experielnced societal pressure to ‘do it all and be it all,’ and 96 percent feel expected to put themselves last and self-sacrifice.
Not only are these sentiments heartbreaking but they also breed bigger problems. Of the women surveyed 98 percent believe this ‘invisibility’ severely impacts women’s mental health. As a result, women say they have experienced anxiety (92%), stress (91%), burnout/exhaustion (91%), overwhelm (87%), loneliness or isolation (83%), irritability (83%) and depression (76%). Left uncared for and unsupported these mental health struggles can have an impact on baby and can quickly transition into physical health issues for mom.
Women say the things making them feel invisible include, but are not limited to: unfair division of labour in the home, trying to juggle a career and childcare, lack of empathy and understanding from family, peers and strangers, blindspots in healthcare and mental health support, struggles to assert identity and independence, having to hide the pain of pregnancy loss, and pressures from institutions such as healthcare, education and media.
So what can be done to help? While large-scale government legislation is needed to make paid parental leave and paid leave after pregnancy loss the new normal and childcare more affordable, in the meantime Peanut is offering small solutions to help society support the true complexities of women’s experiences.
The State of Invisibility includes the most common unwanted questions from society that contribute to feelings of invisibility alongside alternative suggestions that women say they would prefer to hear. For instance instead of “How is the baby?” instead one could ask “How are you really? Mentally, emotionally and physically?” Instead of “Was the pregnancy planned?” consider asking “Are you excited? And instead of “How do you do it all?” refram the question to “How is the mental load?
Together we can help mothers feel seen and give them the love and affirmation they so freely give to their children and others.