MIT professor buying a grad student and new mother a crib to keep in the lab highlights pandemic's toll on working moms

(CNN)Karen Cunningham thought she had picked a good, stable time to start a family as a graduate student at MIT.

But when she gave birth to her daughter, Katie, in July 2020, the coronavirus pandemic was surging. She and her husband, Steve Cunningham, had to buy a car because they could no longer rely on public transportation. One of them always needed to be around to take care of Katie -- they couldn't count on friends or family to step in, day cares were shut down, and they couldn't risk taking her to public places because of Covid-19.