Teneema Tibbs lost her job at a Darby day-care center in February 2020, the month before the coronavirus pandemic hit. She was five months pregnant and about to become a single mom.
She looked at her protruding belly and thought, “No one will hire me now.”
Tibbs searched for a new job, but the pandemic shut down the child-care industry. She couldn’t find work.
Tibbs was one of many pregnant people left out of the safety nets put in place during the pandemic, an exclusion that thrust many new mothers into financial instability when they were at their most vulnerable.
When the federal government created its pandemic unemployment assistance program, it stipulated COVID-19 must have specifically caused a person to lose their job. These restrictions excluded many pregnant people and new mothers like Tibbs who lost work before March 2020.