Conservatives should provide assistance to pregnant mothers through child tax credits and a larger earned-income tax credit, as Douthat and other reform-minded conservatives have pointed out. This helps mothers — especially single mothers — post-birth, as they work to raise their child or children. Paid parental leave could help mothers deal with some of these difficulties — and there’s overwhelming bipartisan support for paid family and medical leave throughout the nation. We should also consider more flexible income arrangements for Americans, ones that allows expectant mothers to allocate “comp time” toward maternity leave or potential medical expenditures.
But there are a host of needs associated with giving birth to a child — prenatal checkups, birth, breastfeeding help, postnatal care, postpartum depression, pelvic floor therapy, and others — that are intrinsically health needs. If not properly attended to, they can cause complications that not only disincentivize future birth, but also jeopardize a mother’s economic, physical, and emotional wellbeing (and, by extension, that of her child).