As pushback against masks reaches a fever pitch, new parents who wore a mask through labor and delivery are sharing their experiences and urging people to follow their lead.

By Maressa Brown
July 09, 2020
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In the midst of a global pandemic, when cases in the U.S. are surging at jaw-dropping levels when compared to the rest of the world, some Americans are responding by raging about the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s ask that we wear masks to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. As the Pew Research Center points out, mask-wearing has become a partisan issue, which explains why 9 percent of adults say they hardly ever wear masks and 7 percent say they never do.

Now, new moms are weighing in on the needlessly contentious issue, sharing their experiences with mask-wearing during labor and delivery in an effort to encourage others to wear a face-covering when they're out in the world.

Jai Kershner, an outspoken mom and radio host from Clarksville, Tennessee, noted on Twitter that she wore a mask through 38 hours of labor, a C-section, and recovery. According to Good Morning America, Kershner, who gave birth to a son on June 18, has asthma, and she and her husband both wore face masks from the time they entered the hospital to the time they were discharged, a total of about five days.

Kershner told GMA she was inspired to tweet after getting home from the hospital and seeing people complaining and saying, "If you are not comfortable being around people who don't wear masks, then don't go out." She noted, "It's just like you don't wear a mask for yourself, you wear a mask to protect each other. Right now in society we need to be loving on each other in every way, shape and form possible."

She continued, "A mask is an inconvenience. It is not the end of the world. People who complain about going to the grocery store, you can wear a mask for 20 or 30 minutes. That’s fine. It’s not a big deal."

Another mom named Julia Kite-Laidlaw gave birth to twins via an emergency C-section in New York City in May. She wore a hospital-issued mask during the next four days she spent in the hospital and also the following two weeks she spent visiting her newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Kite-Laidlaw explained to GMA that she was motivated to wear a mask after thinking about the doctors and nurses having "been through hell." She thought to herself, "I’ll do anything they want me to." The twin mom elaborated, "No one is making these requirements because they want people to be uncomfortable. They’re doing it because we’re in the middle of a pandemic nobody here has been through before."

Social media is brimming with a plethora of stories and pleas from not only new parents but their friends and family members too.

What the World Could Learn From These New Moms

Researchers note that mask-wearing is most effective when it's a communal effort. Consider the fact that the U.S. death toll could hit 180,000 by October, according to a model from the University of Washington. However, it's also been predicted that about 33,000 of those deaths could be prevented if 95 percent of the country would wear masks.

Yet some Americans are refusing on the grounds that they're "uncomfortable." Clearly, these people would do well to consider these new moms' stories and follow in their footsteps.

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