NEW YORK — When Lauren Leicht began working on a documentary about working mothers, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to do the documentary.
After all, it was still unclear whether the work was really helping anyone.
But then she saw how a pregnant mother was sitting at the dinner table with her two kids and thought, “Wow, that’s awesome!”
She wanted to tell her story.
“I started thinking, what if we were going to do this, and what if I was just trying to show a different side of a parent?” said Leicht, who is now a filmmaker with the nonprofit Project Child, which is developing a new documentary about motherhood.
Now, Leicht has been filming her two sons, ages 5 and 7, with her own camera.
Her goal is to tell the stories of women who have become mothers and their lives as a result.
The story is about resilience, she said.
“If we don’t learn to cope with stress, we will be more vulnerable to things like this.
It is the nature of parenting.
We’re not built for it.”
Leicht and her husband, Andrew, a freelance writer and father of two young boys, started Project Child in 2009 to educate parents on how to help their children.
Now Project Child has produced more than 100 films, including the film about two women who survived cancer and were inspired by their experience to start a non-profit organization.
The Leithts have made documentaries about depression, anxiety, anger, grief, addiction, divorce and more, including a recent documentary about a woman who had a stroke and couldn’t get a job for several months.
“There’s no question that women who are stressed, if they’re not taking care of their kids, are going to be more susceptible to things,” said Leithith, who now lives in New York City.
“What we want to do is bring awareness to the issue of stress and stress-related illness and health and get them to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.”
A mother’s journey to a new role When Leicht started working on the documentary, she had no idea how important it would be to raise awareness of maternal health and work to change the culture of maternity homes.
The stress that a mother can feel from working is very real, she explained.
“The idea of a mother who’s struggling with her career and trying to make ends meet is very much real.
We see moms working in very stressful situations and working from the bottom up.”
Leith found herself thinking about how mothers are often overlooked or undervalued.
“They’re not the ones who are making the decisions,” she said, adding that she realized that she needed to take on this challenge herself.
She began working with other mothers to help them understand the role they play in their childrens lives.
Leicht recently interviewed three women, one in their 30s and two in their 40s, who had been working with Project Child.
The women shared their stories of parenting and life in the workplace.
One mother said she has a great relationship with her kids, but her husband is struggling financially.
“My daughter works, and my son works, but my husband doesn’t,” she explained, adding she’s worried about her financial situation and has no savings.
“It’s not a normal time in my life to be in that position.”
Leich also interviewed a woman, who said she’s struggled with depression.
She is working as a lawyer but has been unable to find a full-time job and is struggling to make enough money to afford her rent.
“You don’t want to put your child in that situation,” she told Leicht.
Leith has found it helpful to use interviews with the women in her film to create a narrative around their work and the role of mothers in their families.
“We’re just trying our best to help these women understand their roles and their responsibilities,” she added.
Leich hopes the film will encourage women to talk about their own lives and how their parenting style can affect their mental health and well-being.
The project has received international acclaim.
It has been featured on Oprah Winfrey’s show, The Oprah WinFests, and on a website called The Motherhood Project, where Leicht said it has received more than 10,000 views.
“Our goal is for this film to change lives and change culture,” Leicht told CBS News.
“This is a real issue, and we want it to be solved.
This is something that should not be in the news anymore.
I don’t think we’ve gotten enough credit.”
The Leiths have also been featured in a new video documentary called, “A Mother’s Story.”
“We just want people to see that this is real,” Leith said.