The changing face of motherhood: Street Soldiers

Mothers today have more options than any previous generation, but they're also faced with different types of societal pressures than the women who came before them. There's a wider diversity in the motherhood experience, including single moms, and traditional two-parent and blended families. As modern moms navigate the challenges and find their joy, we're celebrating all of them.

Motherhood in America is changing. Fewer women are choosing to become moms. Recent CDC statistics reveal that nearly 50% of American women under 45 do not have children. For women who do choose motherhood, it's often part of their core identity and a rewarding experience, as long as they don't lose themselves in the process, says Dr. LaShawn Paul, a married mother of three.

Dr. LaShawn Paul, DSW, LCSW-R advises:

"Check in to see where you are, what you want, your goals, the things that make yourself happy as a mother and not only centering your children's goals, those things you'll do naturally."

Mary Almonte, the founder of Young Urban Moms, is a married mother of two, and part of a multi-racial, multi-ethnic blended family. She's pursued motherhood and her career and is now Director of Video Content for ESPN's Andscape. She Co-Executive Produced the HULU documentary, "Hip Hop and the White House." Her career success is rewarding, and so is the joy she gets from seeing her kids grow into genuinely kind and caring people.

"When they're younger it's those milestones, like 'oh they're walking, they're talking, they can read, they did well on their report card but now that my kids are older, it's really just seeing them as well-adjusted, happy, opinionated young adults," Mary Almonte, founder of Young Urban Moms said.

Glamorous images of pregnant celebrities and famous mothers with fabulous figures flood entertainment shows and social media feeds. They're images of motherhood that are unattainable for most and can easily make women feel insecure about their bodies, especially after unwanted physical changes that can come from giving birth. Renowned double board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Stephen Greenberg says his mommy makeovers help reshape the body and boost his patients' self-confidence.

"It's incredible what a mommy makeover does to a patient. It really makes them look better and feel better. It puts their body back to the way it used to be. Patients feel amazing when they're done with this," Dr. Stephen Greenberg said.

The Pew Research Center found that 41% of babies born in 2020 in the U.S. were to unmarried women. Despite the large number of single moms, they face an array of special challenges from financial and emotional to negative stereotypes. Jocelyn Cook is a single mother of three who left an abusive relationship. The college-educated entrepreneur created The Different Mom blog to help single mothers of color like herself thrive. She is also the author of the book," Faith Like A Mother."

"My children aren't going to remember what I did for them, they're going to see what I did for myself and pattern that, and that's really big, what I think they'll learn from better than anything I could give them," Jocelyn Cook said.