%s1 / %s2

Playlist: Mother's Day

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/85966598@N00/109070022/">Patrick Q</a>
Image by: Patrick Q 
Curated Playlist

Mother's Day is Sunday, May 12th.

Below are picks chosen by PRX editorial staff. You can see all Mother's Day radio by using our search.

Hour (49:00-1:00:00)

Mothering

From WHYY | Part of the The Pulse Specials series | 58:59

The Pulse celebrates Mother's Day with stories about the ways humans — and other species — juggle fierce love and the never-ending demands of childcare

Playing
Mothering
From
WHYY

3000x3000_itunes_thepulse_1_small

PROGRAM DETAILS:

Mothering
Giving birth. Giving support. Being there. Being exhausted. To mark Mother’s Day, “The Pulse” reflects on some of the ways humans — and other species — juggle fierce love and the never-ending demands of childcare.
 
America doesn’t have enough OBGYNs
Shawnee Baker was in labor. Her husband was trying his best to get his wife to the hospital in time. As they bumped along country roads, Shawnee imagined giving birth on the side of the highway. If you’re a pregnant woman in rural Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, that’s your reality. There’s one obstetrician and he only comes to town three times a month. Elizabeth Fiedler hung out with him and a waiting room full of pregnant women.
 
Freeloading bird forces others to raise her hatchlings
The brown-headed cowbird may be one of the most hated birds in the animal kingdom. The cowbird is a brood parasite: she lays her eggs in the nest of another bird, and then ‘muscles’ that mama bird into fostering her cowbird nestling. Paige Pfleger narrates the cutthroat drama happening in the treetops.
 
Dads are wired to 'mother' too
The role of "caregiver" in parenting is often synonymous with mom. But biology tells a different story about the important role fathers play. Fathers don't just function as male mothers; they provide a kind of caregiving that's unique to dads. But, society's old-fashioned ideas about parenting roles might be making it more difficult for dads to do their jobs. Max Green does ‘daddy duty’ with a father in Illinois.
 
A zygote writes an apology letter to mom
From single-cell zygote to nutrient sucking embryo, Rebecca Helm charts the journey of a growing fetus in its host uterus. Helm is a biologist and it’s her special, handmade Mother’s Day card to her mom.
 
The ‘baby penalty’ often sidelines women scientists
On the way to the hospital to deliver her first daughter, bioengineer Nancy Pleshko stopped by FedEx to drop off a grant application. “That’s your life when you’re a scientist in academia,” she says. Pleshko went on to lead a science lab, but an inflexible work culture in science leads some women to find other careers or to adjust their family planning goals. Alan Yu speaks with young scientist mom who got off the tenure track to take an industry job.
 
Interviews with host Maiken Scott
 
Miscarriage: a common experience we don’t talk about much
OB-GYN Courtney Schreiber runs a University of Pennsylvania program for newly pregnant women and women who have experienced miscarriage. One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and Schrieber says the health system should do a better job preparing women for that possibility — and caring for them when it happens.
 
The interview follows a first-person story from 31-year-old Carolina Garzon. Today she’s mom to smiling five-month-old Emma, but her first try at motherhood ended in a miscarriage. Garzon gave Alex Stern a tour of the wildflower garden she planted to remember her first pregnancy.
 
Mother dolphins sing to their babies in the womb
While studying Bella the bottlenose dolphin and her calf Mira, researcher Audra Ames documented Bella’s ‘signature whistle.’ Dolphins vocalize the whistle before and after giving birth to imprint the sound on their babies. Ames is based at the Marine Mammal Behavior and Cognition Lab at the University of Southern Mississippi.
 
Physics is a mother
If you struggled in your high school physics class, you might not have warm feelings about the study of atoms and quarks. But physics has been called the “mother of all sciences,” because it explains the fundamental laws that govern nature, and, without it, other branches couldn’t exist. Science writer Jennifer Ouellette overcame her fear of physics, made a career writing about it,  and married a physicist.

Mommy Dearest: A History of American Motherhood [rebroadcast]

From BackStory with the American History Guys | Part of the BackStory with the American History Guys: Special Programming series | 54:00

Some say motherhood is the hardest job in the world; turns out, there's a lot of history to back that up. In this special Mother's Day episode, the American History Guys explore changing expectations of mothers over the centuries.

Mothers

For most of American history, women were charged with raising productive citizens, even as they lacked the status of full citizens themselves. So BackStory explores this paradox, looking to the ways that motherhood was used to enhance women’s claims to a say in society, and considering how the nature of mothering itself has changed over the centuries. What has it meant to be a “good mom” in American history?

Guests include:

  • Linda Kerber, University of Iowa, on the “founding mothers” who were tasked with instilling future generations with good republican values.
  • Ann Hulbertjournalist and author of Raising America (2011), on the early 20th Century advice that mothers not smother their children with love.
  • Nate DiMeo, writer and producer of The Memory Palace podcast, on the tragic story of Anna Jarvis, the “mother” of Mother’s Day.

BIRTH

From Thin Air Media | 56:28

A one-hour public radio documentary about the practices and perceptions of birth in America.

Playing
BIRTH
From
Thin Air Media

Allbelly_small BIRTH is a one-hour public radio and audio documentary about the practices and perceptions of birth in America. Starting with early perceptions, we move through the process of birth beginning before labor, continuing during labor, and following the actual event. With a multiplicity of voices woven with sound we examine the process of birth from an emotional, physical and philosophical perspective. As we move back and forth through time and from person to person, we discover how stories from our lives, history, media, and the medical institution enter into the culmination of the actual birthing process. Birth is a rite of passage through which all human beings pass. Is it the same as it ever was? Why do some women feel deeply empowered by their birth experiences and others feel stripped of their motherhood? Where do our expectations about how we give birth come from, and how do they play out when we approach the event? What is the baby's experience? And what about the father's role? Turn on the television or watch a movie and you're likely to see birth portrayed as an emergency medical procedure. Is this a true depiction of what happens? Perhaps, and yet there are many ways in which to approach the experience. Above all else, we are biologically predisposed to be interested in this topic. Quite simply, when it comes to birth everyone can relate.

Love Syndrome

From Israel Story | 54:00

Israel Story's Mother's Day Special is the most unusual, unpredictable and touching tale you've heard in a while.

Avikeren240_medium_small

'Israel Story' is one of the most popular national radio shows in Israel. Many call it the local 'This American Life.' In their Mother's Day special, they bring the hour-long story of Chaya Ben Baruch. 
Chaya grew up as Enid, in a traditional Jewish family in Far Rockaway, N.Y. Midway through college, she left that world behind to study sea otters in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Fast-forward a decade: Enid is now married to a nice Catholic salmon fisher named Stan. She’s just given birth to her sixth child, and discovers he has Down syndrome. Many parents in her position would be devastated. Some might place their baby in an institution, or put them up for adoption. For Enid, the birth of Angkor started her and her family on an incredible journey—to Tzfat, Israel, and from there to court rooms, hospitals, ultra-Orthodox yeshivas, and wedding halls, all so she could do right by her child and the other special-needs children she picked up along the way.

8: Izzy Chan & Laura Pilz, The Tectonic Shift in Gender Roles

From KALW | Part of the Inflection Point with Lauren Schiller series | 53:59

Just in time for mother's day: We all know the stereotypes, but the traditional family roles have shifted. Almost half of women are now the primary breadwinners. On this episode, find out how women--and men--moms and dads, are handling this tectonic change.

Izzy_chan_small We all know the stereotypes, but the traditional family roles have shifted. Almost half of women are now the primary breadwinners. On this episode, find out how women--and men--are handling this tectonic change.With Izzy Chan, director of The Big Flip and Laura Pilz of Merrill Lynch.

HOB Radio: Mother's Day

From Ben Manilla | Part of the House of Blues Radio Hour series | 59:01

A tribute to women of the blues.

Minnie2_small The House of Blues Radio Hour is a weekly syndicated program hosted by Elwood Blues (a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd).  In this episode, Elwood sits down with three contemporary Blues mamas; actress/singer Sally Kellerman, acoustic master Rory Block, and Mississippi stalwart Eden Brent to talk about their recent projects.  Includes music by Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Marcia Ball and more.

Dina's Diary: Journey of a Cancer Survivor

From Capital Public Radio | 59:03

This intimate, award-winning audio diary documents a young mother's year-long battle with breast cancer.

Dina_small Two weeks before Thanksgiving Day 2005, Dina Howard was diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the ensuing months, the 39-year-old mother of two faced agonizing decisions about surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. At the time of her diagnosis, Dina, a former actress and arts administrator, was starting work as a freelance arts reporter for public radio station KXJZ in Sacramento. Despite having no radio experience, she had reporter-like instincts and lots of enthusiasm. But after she got the devastating news, her new vocation would have to wait. Or would it? While still dealing with the shock of the diagnosis, Dina had an idea: maybe she should keep the equipment she borrowed from the station and document her own battle with cancer. It would give her a task to focus on, she reasoned. And maybe the finished product would be helpful to others someday. And so, for one year between Thanksgivings, Dina kept an audio diary. But she didn't just record end-of-the-day reflections about her ordeal. She recorded her raw reactions during the most crucial moments of treatment: while she was in the pre-op waiting room before mastectomy surgery, in the infusion lounge during chemotherapy, and during radiation treatments with a giant machine hovering overhead. "Dina's Diary" is a powerful and emotional distillation of those experiences. It includes other important voices as well: Dina's family and friends, her doctors and nurses, even the owner of a wig shop she visited. Since its original airing on KXJZ in December, 2006, "Dina's Diary" has won awards from AP, PRNDI and PRPD. More importantly it has touched the lives of a great many listeners who have gone through, are going through, or will soon be starting cancer treatment. Here are a few of their comments: "I listened to Dina's Diary in the car last week and had to pull over in the rain to hear the whole thing. And I was crying, because it was so fresh in my memory. 2006 was my cancer year... Thank you Dina for taking this thing out of its private, polite world and giving it a voice. The emotions are overwhelming and we don't have a good way to handle them although family and friends are the most wonderful blessing of all." "My wife has finished 4 of 8 chemos by Christmas. We also read the comic-style book 'Cancer-Vixen' -Both your diary and that book have given us the roadmap that the doctors don't seem to have laid out well. She has a team of doctors, each a specialist in their part of the treatment, and so trying to get a roadmap is like pulling teeth. Only the cancer-victors who've been through can speak to our need, Thank you, thank you, thank you." "Listening to Dina's Diary tonight was the most powerful story I have ever heard on talk radio. It stopped me in my tracks. I am a 31 year old mother of two small children. As I cooked dinner and listened to Dina's story, tears streamed down my face. What would I do if I were diagnosed with breast cancer? My husband sat down and listened as well. Dina's words were honest and real. You could feel her fear. You could feel her will to survive. Thank you Dina for revealing the reality of such a frightening situation. I admire her determination to stay strong and to never give up. How beautiful to come out of this with humility and a renewed love for life."

BEAT LATINO 020: Celebrating el Dia de la Madre - Mother's Day

From Catalina Maria Johnson | Part of the BEAT LATINO series | 59:02

Tunes from throughout Latin America and Latino USA for Mother's Day.

Beatlatino-mother_sday2_small Beat Latino, hosted and produced by Catalina Maria Johnson, celebrates in every hour a different facet of the extraordinary diversity of the Latin/Latino musical universe. Like everything else that's important in Latin&Latino culture, Mothers have a special niche in the music. There's songs about a mother's special love, leaving Mom to go elsewhere, returning to Mom and one's hometown, following Mom's advice, and the consequences of not following it! So, join us in celebrating Mother's Day Latin&Latino style, with lots of singing and dancing! This hour of Beat Latino presents songs from all over Latin America, and Spain as well as the southern and Western U.S.A. Hosted in both Spanish and English, so all can enjoy and move to the special beat of the Dia de la Madre. Broadcasts nicely for Mother's Day!


Half-Hour+ (30:01-48:59)

Maya Angelou & Guy Johnson - Mother and Son Poets become themselves

From Sedge Thomson | 44:47

It's a joyful, funny, moving and inspiring story of parental and filial love, a memoir of America in a certain time; the influence of a mother on a child; and the importance of knowing how to cook red rice.

Angelou3-sized_small The mother is a poet, the son is a poet. She raised him in San Francisco, New York, later, in Egypt, Africa, Paris. She earned her way cooking creole food in a San Francisco restaurant. She found her way raising her son to learn courage, poetry, and manners. She learned how to prepare "my black boy to be raised in a white society." The mother is the renowned poet and memoirist, Dr. Maya Angelou. The son is Guy Johnson, poet and novelist. She travels to the Bay Area from time to time to visit her son and grandchildren. In this program, we hear Guy talk about his writing, his motivation, the energy of his poetry, and the deep emotion of being a parent. Then, his mother comes on stage and she talks about the conditions of raising him as a mother of 17, her own relationships with her mother and her mother's slave antecedents. You can't learn poetry unless you have courage; you must love yourself to find your way, to be somebody; her son Guy made her who she is. It's a joyful, funny, moving and inspiring story of parental and filial love, a memoir of America in a certain time; the influence of a mother on a child; and the importance of knowing how to cook red rice.

When her daughter became her son (and vice versa)

From Stephanie Lepp | Part of the Reckonings series | 33:37

What happens when the person you thought was your daughter becomes your son, and vice versa? Two mothers struggle to accept their transgender children, and provide a hopeful window into how we might expand our understanding of gender.

Indigo_square-1400_small

'You have all these plans, all these dreams, and then it hits you: my daughter's no longer a daughter, she's a son.' In struggling to accept her daughter as a transgender man, Rita DiNicola had to surrender dreams of wedding dress shopping and biological grandchildren. Similarly, in accepting her son as a trans woman, Catherine Hyde had to reckon with the fact that — as a tomboy from a young age — she'd always wanted, and believed she'd gotten, a son as her only child. Together, Rita's and Catherine's stories provide a hopeful window into what might help other parents, and other people more broadly, overcome transphobia and expand our understanding of gender.


Half-Hour (24:00-30:00)

A Woman of No Consequence

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | 31:32

The story of a remarkable Indian woman who struggled with the bonds of tradition and finally broke them in old age, told by her granddaughter.

A_woman_with_no_consequence_small

Born into a cultured Indian family, she read all the novels of Charles Dickens before she turned ten. Then she was forced to leave school to get married. At 15 she was a mother. And for most of her adult life, Sethu Ramaswamy was in the shadows, trying to find her place in the light.

Finally, at 80, her memoir - Autobiography of an Unknown Indian Woman - was published, to great fanfare and acclaim.

This is the surprising third act in a drama full of surprises - the story of a child bride whose husband was both her true love and the biggest obstacle to her freedom, the story of a woman who set out one day to make for herself the  life she'd always wanted.

Sarmishta Subramanian’s intimate and remarkable documentary brings us the story of her grandmother:  It’s called "A Woman of No Consequence" 

 

Sarmishta Subramanian is a senior editor with Maclean’s Magazine, a national news weekly. This is her first radio documentary.

Karen Levine is the documentary editor at CBC Radio’s The Sunday Edition. She is a two-time winner of the Peabody Award.

 

 

 

 

A Mother's Shortcut

From Peter Bochan | Part of the Shortcuts series | 28:25

A nostalgic look at Mother's Day, mixing music, comedy and archival material. Features Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Al Jolson, Steve Allen, Charlie Weaver, The Beatles, Laurel & Hardy, Monty Python, Carole Bishop, Will Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, Marjorie Main, Elvis Presley & Hy Gardner, Sophie Tucker, The Intruders, Gilda Radner & Dan Ackroyd, Warren Zevon, Raul Julia, George Jessell, Helen Hayes, Robert Walker, Mary Martin, Todd Rundgren, Paul Simon, The Barry Sisters, Vaughn DeLeath, "Stella Dallas", "Ma Perkins", Bill Withers, Violet Bochan (mom) and many more.

Mother03_small A Mother's Shortcut--a classic Mother's Day mix, blending comedy with timely, theme oriented music and archival clips--featuring Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Al Jolson, Steve Allen, Charlie Weaver, The Beatles, Laurel & Hardy, Monty Python, Carole Bishop, Will Rogers, Humphrey Bogart, Marjorie Main, Elvis Presley & Hy Gardner, Sophie Tucker, The Intruders, Gilda Radner & Dan Ackroyd, Warren Zevon, Raul Julia, George Jessell, Helen Hayes, Robert Walker, Mary Martin, Todd Rundgren, Paul Simon, The Barry Sisters, Vaughn DeLeath, "Stella Dallas", "Ma Perkins", Bill Withers, Violet Bochan (mom) and many more.

The Grandma Plan

From Hearing Voices | Part of the The Plan series | 29:02

A family gathering of materfamilias — all kinds of radio about grandmothers from Hearing Voices.

0605plangrandma_small This week we got Grandmas on the radio... PLAYLIST: ARTIST | AUDIO | ALBUM (*=PRX piece) 1. U.S. Marines | My Grandmother Was 71 | Run To Cadence With The U.S. Marines, Vol.1 2. Jake Warga | Eat Your Eggs* | -- 3. Annie Gallup | Grace | Pearl Street 4. Megan Hall | Advice from a Grandmother* | -- 5. StoryCorps | Isabel Beaton* | StoryCorps 6. Glenn Miller and his Orchestra | Make Believe Ballroom Time | Complete Glenn Miller 7. Jeannete Armstrong | Grandmothers | Word Up 8. StoryCorps | Peggy Edwards* | StoryCorps 9. John Cage | Part 4 | Indeterminacy 10. BUT | Grandma's House | ++ 11. U.S. Women Marines | My Grandmother | Run To Cadence With The U.S. Women Marines

Mother's Day outLoud

From outLoud Radio at Youth Radio | 29:30

This is mother's day with no mush but a lot of heart. 18-year-old Jordan Green and his mom guide us through an exploration of motherhood from various Queer perspectives, with a good dose of humor.

P1010058_small This is mother's day with no mush but a lot of heart. 18-year-old Jordan Green and his mom guide us through an exploration of motherhood from various Queer perspectives, with a good dose of humor and some genuinely sweet moments. We hear the story of a gay teenager who has been living a secret life for years, and gets a huge (pleasant) surprise when he comes out; the tale of a cheerleading boy-obsessed sweet-sixteen girl who fights for the right to live with her lesbian mom; a portrait of two women who adopt a baby boy of a different race; and the progress of one girl's parents over the span of a year, after she tells them she's gay. Created by the Youth Producers of outLoud Radio.

Mei Mei, A Daughter's Song

From Dmae Roberts | 26:35

Winner of a Peabody award, this is the personal story of cross-cultural and cross-generational conflict produced by Dmae Roberts.

Meicover1_small "Mei Mei" is a 25 minute documentary that chronicles Dmae and her mother, Chu-Yin, as they travel to Taiwan together. Mei Mei is Chinese for "little sister" -- a term of endearment for any younger girl. First produced in 1989, Mei Mei was highly personal and groundbreaking for its time--interweaving interviews and dramatizations to tell the story of a conflicted daughter and her mother who suffered abuse, starvation and the horrors of World War Two. MEI MEI has been broadcast on NPR, the BBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.


Segments (9:00-23:59)

Ovarian transplants are on infertility's cutting edge

From Robin Amer | 10:29

Thirty-six-year-old twins Carol Enoch and Katy Panek are physically identical in every way but one: Katy was born without ovaries. She never menstruated and took artificial hormones to spark puberty.

Katy wanted children and considered several infertility treatments that are now considered routine. But she was in a position to try something more unusual: an ovarian transplant with sister Carol as the donor.

Their doctor, Sherman Silber, was the first surgeon to perform an ovarian transplant. Because eggs are stored on the outermost layer of an ovary, Silber can perform the surgery like a simple skin graft. The surgery’s benefits extend from there, he says, arguing that ovarian transplants are less painful, costly, and time-consuming that egg donation or in vitro fertilization.

Dr. Silber has now performed ovarian transplants on nine sets of identical twins, but they’re not alone. Women undergoing cancer treatment and women who want to preserve their fertility into their 40s are also seeking out the procedure, by removing and freezing their own ovaries to re-implant them later. And that’s raising questions about the surgery’s practicality and ethics.

Ralph_katy_carol_small Thirty-six-year-old twins Carol Enoch and Katy Panek are physically identical in every way but one: Katy was born without ovaries. She never menstruated and took artificial hormones to spark puberty. Katy wanted children and considered several infertility treatments that are now considered routine. But she was in a position to try something more unusual: an ovarian transplant with sister Carol as the donor. Their doctor, Sherman Silber, was the first surgeon to perform an ovarian transplant. Because eggs are stored on the outermost layer of an ovary, Silber can perform the surgery like a simple skin graft. The surgery’s benefits extend from there, he says, arguing that ovarian transplants are less painful, costly, and time-consuming that egg donation or in vitro fertilization. Dr. Silber has now performed ovarian transplants on nine sets of identical twins, but they’re not alone. Women undergoing cancer treatment and women who want to preserve their fertility into their 40s are also seeking out the procedure, by removing and freezing their own ovaries to re-implant them later. And that’s raising questions about the surgery’s practicality and ethics.

The Myth of the Female Fertility Cliff

From marnie chesterton | 10:00

Women over 30 who haven't yet had kids are often told “tick tick; your biological clock is running out of time."

Marnie Chesterton digs into the facts underpinning those views. When do women become infertile and why? Female fertility is a relatively neglected area of medical research, and the data used to estimate fertility has, until recently, come from French birth records from 1670 to 1830!

Fullsizerender_small

Women over 30 who haven't yet had kids are often told “tick tick; your biological clock is running out of time."
Marnie Chesterton digs into the facts underpinning those views. When do women become infertile and why? Female fertility is a relatively neglected area of medical research, and the data used to estimate fertility has, until recently, come from French birth records from 1670 to 1830.

David Dunson, a biostatistician from Duke University explains how he studied modern couples, and how his results don't show a sudden cliff edge of infertility.

The Longest Shortest Time (Series)

Produced by Hillary Frank

The truth about early motherhood.

Most recent piece in this series:

What YOU Expect When You're Expecting

From Hillary Frank | Part of the The Longest Shortest Time series | 22:54

The-boy-at-32-weeks-prx_small Joanne is having her first baby at the age of 40. The Longest Shortest Time's Hillary Frank checks in with Joanne to find out what she's expecting when she's expecting. Turns out Joanne is imagining all sorts of vivid horror scenarios about her baby — and his possible future as an arsonist, rapist, war criminal, or all three.

Hidden Kitchen Mama

From The Kitchen Sisters | Part of the Fugitive Waves series | 15:23

Stories of mothers and kitchens from playwright Ellen Sebastian Chang, cookbook author Peggy Knickerbocker, designer Cristina Salas-Porras, folklorist and creator/host of American Routes Nick Spitzer, and actress Robin Wright.

Ks_fugitivewavessm_small

Kitchens and mothers. The food they cooked or didn't. The stories they told or couldn't. In honor of mothers from around the world, The Kitchen Sisters linger in the kitchen — the room in the house that counts the most, that smells the best, where families gather and children are fed, where all good parties begin and end. The room where the best stories are told.

Stories of mothers and kitchens from playwright Ellen Sebastian Chang, cookbook author Peggy Knickerbocker, designer Cristina Salas-Porras, folklorist and creator/host of American Routes Nick Spitzer, and actress Robin Wright. And messages from the Hidden Kitchens hotline.

Life of the Law #23 - Of Prison and Pregnancy

From Life of the Law | Part of the Life of the Law series | 16:11

The United States incarcerates six times as many women as it did thirty years ago. Many of these women are already mothers, and four percent of incarcerated women enter prison pregnant. What happens to the babies born in the correctional system? What happens to the children left behind, as their mothers serve out their sentences?

Ep23-momsincarcerationphotocell_small

On January 29th 2013, Diana was on her way to get a sonogram.

“And the minute I turned on my car,” she remembers, “they pulled up on the side and told me to get out the car. They put the handcuffs on me and took me in.”

Diana asked us not to use her last name for reasons related to her arrest. She’s a 23 year old from Queens, New York. That day in January, she found herself in a jail cell at Rikers Island, seven months pregnant.

“They had told me that I was under arrest because of what my boyfriend did,” she says.

Her boyfriend, the baby’s father, had gone to jail ten days earlier. He’d sold drugs to an undercover cop. The cop had come to their home and caught the sale on video.

“I was in my room minding my business,” she says of that day, “when the officer came in, and my boyfriend had called me and told him to pass him a bag that was in the room. And that’s where the drugs came out of. And that’s what I’m in the video doing, just giving the black bag.”

Diana faced a felony charge as an accomplice to a drug deal. She says nobody at Rikers would really tell her what was going on.

“At first it was like I couldn’t sleep,” she recalls. “I was scared of, maybe if I’m sleeping somebody decides to come behind me and hurt me or something. Because I’m pregnant and they feel like I can’t defend myself. It was really hard.”

She says she did get medical care. “They would give me my prenatal pills. If I were to get sick or whatever they would take care of me, they had their nurses who would help us.

“They fed us, “ she continues. “I mean, the schedule wasn’t all that great and the food wasn’t all that great but at least they fed us. I would sometimes not even eat because the food was so nasty. But I was pregnant: I had to feed my son so I had to force myself to eat.”

Diana later found out that pregnant women at Rikers get taken to a hospital to give birth. But she didn’t know that while she was at the jail.

“I was just thinking the crazy things that would go on if I was to give birth in there,” she says. “I just thought, honestly, that they would take the baby away, and either a family member had to pick him up and take care of him, or the system took him.”

Diana’s story is more common than you might expect. Four percent of women prisoners enter prison pregnant – that results in thousands of babies born in the correctional system each year. But as far as what to do with these babies, or their mothers, the US lacks any national policy.

In most European countries, incarcerated mothers keep their newborns in prison with them through preschool age. The US followed the same protocol until the 1950s, but by the seventies, most states had ended these programs.

New York is one of the only states that still has a small prison nursery program, and Bedford Hills Correctional facility has the oldest prison nursery in the country. In 1998, Mary Byrne, a professor at Columbia University School of Nursing, visited Bedford Hills with some students.

“As I discovered the prison nursery,” she says, “my question was…‘Is this good idea?’”

Byrne wondered if kids could develop normally after starting life in prison. Advocates believed that keeping a baby together with his or her imprisoned mom could help the mother-child bond, but few had researched the topic. Byrne decided to study prison nursery moms and their kids.

Women who are pregnant when they come to Bedford Hills can apply for the prison nursery. Only a few dozen are accepted – the rest have to give up child custody while they serve out their sentences. The prison superintendent at Bedford Hills makes that decision, and those who are chosen are allowed to keep their babies in prison for a year, sometimes longer if they’re getting out soon.

“To me,” Byrne says, “what I would liken it to, as I watched the mothers raise these infants in this setting, is that it was very much like working mothers on the outside.”

While Byrne was at Bedford, two or three mom and baby pairs shared a room, housed in a separate wing from the other prisoners. These days, there are fewer women in the nursery, so each pair has a room to itself. In the mornings, moms go off to their prison jobs and their babies go to the nursery, like kids outside of prison go to daycare. The moms also receive parenting classes.

A Department of Corrections study found having a baby in a prison nursery makes a woman twice as likely to stay out of prison later. Byrne decided to conduct her own research, following sixty of the babies from the Bedford prison nursery until the age of eight She compared their development to kids in the general population.

“The children overall did very well,” Byrne concludes. “The children are for the most part in their grade for their age level and doing well in school. And their parents send us pictures and report cards, unbidden, and letters, and are really so very proud of their children’s achievements.”

Byrne’s most surprising finding has to do with attachment.

“There’s a process,” she explains, “that goes on through the first two years of a child’s life, related to being able to identify a primary caregiver, investing trust in that caregiver, and knowing that that caregiver will be there in times of fear, or illness, or loneliness. So the child can wander away and try out new things, but has a secure base to return to, and feel protected.”

Byrne interviewed moms in the nursery, and found most of them lacked this kind of secure attachment with their own parents. Most researchers agree that if a mother lacked attachment growing up, she will find it difficult to ensure that her own children attach. But Byrne found that 70 percent of the babies she studied managed to form secure attachment with their moms – more than in the outside world.

Despite these findings, prison nurseries are extremely rare. Byrne once counted all the available spots in prison nurseries across the United States and found only 135. Which means, for all intents and purposes, a baby born to a mom in a US prison is a baby that will not know his or her mom, maybe for a long while.

Georgia Lerner leads the Women’s Prison Association in New York. She says support for moms shouldn’t have to be found in prison.

“They are not really places that are supposed to be schools, psychiatric hospitals, medical hospitals, childcare facilities. They were not designed to provide all of these services. And it’s one of the reasons I don’t think it makes a whole lot of sense to send so many people to prison when there are so many issues that could be better addressed in the community where we already have schools, we already have healthcare facilities, we already have mental health providers.”

The Women’s Prison Association started in the early 1800s. Back then, they had to make sure woman got their own prisons, apart from men. These days, they focus on keeping women out of prison when possible – including Diana.

After seven weeks at Rikers, Diana got out on bail just before she gave birth. Her grandmother took her in, to her apartment in Queens. Diana was still going back and forth to court. If she didn’t plead guilty, the judge told her she’d face three to five years in prison.

If Diana did plead guilty, she could get into a drug recovery program instead of doing time – a common occurrence for drug offenders, even non-addicts like Diana. But the drug program was residential, so she’d have to leave her son.

Fortunately, the district attorney put Diana’s public defender in touch with the Women’s Prison Association. They’ve convinced courts to try community-based alternatives, programs that let women stay at home with their kids. They interviewed Diana to make sure she was a good fit for an alternative to incarceration program, and eventually accepted her. For six to eight months, Diana will meet with a counselor and go to group sessions, all while she’s on probation.

Even though alternative to incarceration programs are expanding, more and more women are still going to prison. The US now incarcerates six times as many women as it did thirty years ago. Many of those women are mothers.

Tamar Kraft-Stolar is the director of the Women in Prison Project at the Correctional Association of New York, an organization that monitors women’s prisons in the state.

“If you had to pick probably a defining legacy of the incarceration of women,” Kraft-Stolar says, “it would really be the destruction of families.”

Two months into her alternative to incarceration program, Diana says, “I honestly wish it wouldn’t ever be over.

"I thought [the program] was just going to be about jail and drugs, but it’s not,” she continues. "It’s more so learning about yourself and listening to others stories. I really like group."

Diana’s support group meets every Friday, and her counselor comes to the house three times a week. She has another four to six months to go, depending on the judge’s determination of her progress.

The boyfriend is serving a nine-year sentence in an upstate New York prison. Diana and the baby visit him every couple of weeks, but Diana’s counselor’s helping her move on as a single mom. She’s still living at her grandma’s place, but she’s working on financial stability, applying for jobs in retail.

She’s also thinking about going back to school, getting a degree. But for now, Diana says she just feels lucky to be with her son.

"He makes my day just got by faster,” she says with a smile. “He doesn’t really cry much; he’s just a happy baby. I’m blessed."

RPM Podcast #013: “Motherhood”

From Christa Couture | Part of the The RPM Podcast series | 21:33

RPM looks at Indigenous motherhood and music.

Rpm-podcast-motherhood_small

Many nations around Turtle Island have references in their oral traditions and prophecies about the important role of the 7th Generation. This concept refers to the 7th Generation to be born after contact with European settlers and how we must live our lives in a sustainable way making sure the earth is sustainable for 7 generations to come. The people with the most direct connection to the next 7th generations are, of course, our mothers.

Episode #013 of the RPM Podcast hosted by Ostwelve explores three Indigenous mothers who happen to also be active musicians. Lakota Jones (Mohawk, Cherokee, Lakota) credits her children as her biggest supporters. Inez (Sto:lo) went on tour and was surprised to see that some communities were uncomfortable with her breastfeeding her son. Eekwol (Muskoday First Nation) shares stories about how music helped her heal from post-partum depression. All three women are learning how to juggle their careers with their new found commitment to raising the next generation.

Travels with Mom

From Hearing Voices | Part of the Larry Massett stories series | 12:23

A trip to Tybee through time: a mother's p.o.v.

Lmmom_small These days, taking mom for out for a day-trip doesn't involve going as far in distance, as it does back in time. Tybee Island, Georgia, now and in the 1920s, as seen by Mrs. Massett. (Premiered 2001 on Savvy Traveler.)

The Day My Mother's Head Exploded

From Hannah Palin | 19:59

This is the story of the brain aneurysm that almost killed my mother in 1987, and how she became a completely different person from the mother of my childhood.

Default-piece-image-0 On August 20, 1987 my mother had a brain aneurysm when she was only forty-six years old. She survived. Most people don't. I've come to refer to this life-changing event as "The Day My Mother's Head Exploded." The proper, socially conscious mother I grew up with died that day, and was replaced by an entirely different person. It turns out that my new mother adores Wendy's hamburgers, likes to wear Groucho Marx glasses in public places and will perform a spirited rendition of "Goodbye My Coney Island Baby" at the drop of a hat. When my mother's head exploded, she had a chance to start all over again and she took it. I didn't really get my wacky new mom and spent years grieving for the mother of my childhood. But when I was finally able to realize that my mother's eccentricities are really heart-felt affirmations of survival I was able to move on and to appreciate the person who exists in the here and now. I've wanted to tell her story, and my own, too, for years now, but have struggled with form and structure. I'm a writer and producer with a background in theatre and documentary filmmaking. Despite all of the tools at my disposal, I just couldn't get it right. Then, on a whim, I borrowed a mini-disc recorder and did an extended interview with my mother when she was on a visit to Seattle. A year later, Jack Straw Productions awarded me some studio time and the services of Scott Bartlett, an extraordinarily gifted and patient engineer, who helped me navigate a host of technical landmines so that I could find the true path to this particular story. "The Day My Mother's Head Exploded" was first presented to the public as part of the Jack Straw Artist Support Program in April 2003. When the piece was over, my mother joined me on stage where we performed her signature song, "Goodbye My Coney Island Baby." And yes, we wore Groucho Marx Glasses.


Cutaways (5:00-8:59)

Mom Prom

From Homefront Chronicles | Part of the Homefront Chronicles series | 05:28

Myla Rugge realized shortly after becoming a mother for the first time that something was missing for her and her friends. She took matters into her own hands and created one of the first events of its kind in the US: Mom Prom.

630564275_86db2c9ab6_o_small

Myla Rugge realized shortly after becoming a mother for the first time that something was missing for she and her friends. She took matters into her own hands and created one of the first events of its kind in the US. A prom just for moms.

Gleeful Barbarians

From Sarah Boothroyd | 05:42

Gleeful Barbarians features very silly noises, nearly-indecipherable toddler chitchat, and 27 different ways a two-year-old can say 'no.'

Gleeful_barbarians_1_small Gleeful Barbarians is an audio postcard from the often joyful, sometimes exasperating, and always busy world of early parenthood.

Featuring very silly noises, nearly-indecipherable toddler chitchat, and 27 different ways a two-year-old can say 'no.' 

Creative Commons music provided by Travis Morgan and Mortisville.

Recipient of a Gold Medal for Best Editing at the 2013 New York Festivals Radio Programming Awards.

Cathy, 16, Mom

From Sarah Elzas | 06:06

Cathy is 16. She loves listening to Outkast. She wanted to be a lawyer, but now she thinks she wants to be an accountant. Cathy is also still a freshman in high school because she is the mother of two little boys, the oldest, James, is two years old. From Sarah Elzahs.

Cathyradio_small "If I could still have the same kids, I would have waited. But- I love my kids.I wouldn't give 'em up for the world. No matter how hard it is." Cathy is 16. She loves listening to Outkast. She wanted to be a lawyer, but now she thinks she wants to be an accountant. Cathy is also still a freshman in high school because she is the mother of two little boys, the oldest, James, is two years old. She attends a high school for teen mothers which is where she gets the most support from anyone all day. This is a non-narrated, first-person glimpse into the chaotic life of a very young mother. It is not a story of regret and moralizing about early sexuality. Instead, Cathy reflects on her need to be grown-up, as a mother to her two boys, while also wanting to be just a teenager. This piece was produced at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies.

Dia's Diary: My Mother

From outLoud Radio at Youth Radio | 06:08

Many transgender people come out as gay first. Dia Fallana is a young transgender woman living in a poor part of Oakland, California. In this page from her audio diary, she tells the story of how her mother's anti-gay attitude kept her in the closet -- until she was forced to tell the truth. From outLoud Radio.

Default-piece-image-2 Many transgender people come out as gay first. Dia Fallana is a young transgender woman living in a poor part of Oakland, California. In this page from her audio diary, she tells the story of how her mother's anti-gay attitude kept her in the closet -- until she was forced to tell the truth.

Memorial

From Dmae Roberts | 05:51

Every 100 days, Dmae Roberts saves the phone messages of her mom who passed away. From Dmae Roberts.

Playing
Memorial
From
Dmae Roberts

Memorial_small What's left after someone passes on? Photographs and phone messages. The reality of death hits hardest when the loved one no longer calls you on the phone. Every 100 days, Roberts saves the phone messages of her mom who passed away five years ago as a living memorial and as a way to still get a phone call from her mom. Memorial follows the caretaking and illness of Chu-Yin Roberts through the phone messages. This piece can be aired on Mother's Day or Memorial Day. Could also be appropriately during holidays for those who have lost loved ones. Also appropriate for Asian History Month in May. There is one minute of music tail to read credits to close a magazine show with.


Drop-Ins (2:00-4:59)

StoryCorps: Fatuma Abdullahi, Annie Johnson and Maryan Osman

From StoryCorps | Part of the StoryCorps series | 02:32

Maryan Osman and her sister, Fatuma Abdullahi, are Somalis who came to the U.S. as refugees in 2014 and found a stable home with Annie and Randall Johnson. The sisters sat down with Annie to talk about what it's been like -- for all of them -- to become a family.

Johnsonanpr_small Maryan Osman and her sister, Fatuma Abdullahi, are Somalis who came to the U.S. as refugees in 2014 and found a stable home with Annie and Randall Johnson. The sisters sat down with Annie to talk about what it's been like -- for all of them -- to become a family.

A Mother's Lens

From Ahri Golden | 04:54

From award-winning producer Ahri Golden, A Mother's Lens integrates original song, radio journalism, and photography into a five-minute sound rich depiction of the US Immigration Ban Protest, where Golden is reminded of profound human unity among the people.

Dsc_0607_small

From award-winning producer Ahri Golden, A Mother's Lens integrates original song, radio journalism, and photography into a five-minute sound rich depiction of the US Immigration Ban Protest, where Golden is reminded of profound human unity among the people.

"A whole new genre! Forget about the radio paradigm. This piece breaks it wide open. Brilliant!"
- Tania Ketenjian, Sound Made Public 

"Ahri Golden was one of the earliest successful producers on PRX - and now she is back with a special for Mother's Day."  
- John Barth, Chief Content Officer, PRX 

Here I Am, Saying Thanks To My Mom

From Curie Youth Radio | 02:19

David was born premature, at great risk to his mother. He imagines the day of his birth.

Curtain_small Eighteen year old David Diaz knows that his birth endangered his mother's life. He reimagines the day of his birth as a way of connecting with his mom, and thanking her.

Singing by Myself

From City High Radio | 02:31

Fifteen-year-old Adri loves to sing, especially the songs she remembers her mother singing. Adri hasn't seen her mother in six years, but when she sings, she can hear her mother's voice in her own.

Default-piece-image-0 Fifteen-year-old Adri loves to sing, especially the songs she remembers her mother singing. Adri hasn't seen her mother in six years, but when she sings, she can hear her mother's voice in her own.

What I love About My Mother

From City High Radio | 02:45

High school students tell you what they love about their mothers.

20100513__kitty1_small In this sweet, short vox-pop, high school producers A and Vaughn ask students at City High School, "What do you love about your mother?" The answers are soooo sweet!


Interstitials (Under 2:00)

What it's like to be a parent

From Kathleen Polanco | 02:00

I asked my mother about parenting in hopes to make me feel better about not having any children of my own.

Default-piece-image-2 I asked my mother about parenting in hopes to make me feel better about not having any children of my own.

Love Letters to Mom from College

From Syracuse University Broadcast Journalism | 01:21

What would college students say to their mothers on Mother's Day, since many students can't be with her?

Img_4450_small What would college students say to their mothers on Mother's Day, since many students can't be with her?