In the HBO documentary "Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert," cameras captured the day-to-day struggles of a single mother of three working as a full-time certified nursing assistant. Thirty-year-old Gilbert fights to support herself and her three children on $9.49 an hour, which amounts to an annual salary of roughly $18,000. After taxes, Gilbert's bi-weekly take-home pay is $730.
Like the millions of women living on the brink of poverty, that money goes straight to bills, such as rent and daycare, and there's not enough to cover all of the monthly expenses. In "Paycheck to Paycheck," Gilbert, who has Graves' Disease, must also make tough medical decisions based on her dire financial situation.
"I went to get my prescriptions last night. It was over $400 for my medication," she says in the documentary. "I can't pay that! I had to pick and choose which ones to get."
During a candid town hall conversation with Oprah and "Paycheck to Paycheck" Executive Producer Maria Shriver, Gilbert opened up about what it's been like to see her life, struggles and sacrifices play out on camera.
"The first time that I saw it, I was in shock," she says. "I lived it, but, I guess, seeing it from the outside looking in, I was just in shock about it. I was like, 'Wow, that's my life.'"
Despite that stunned reaction, Gilbert was able to recognize her strength as a parent. "As a single mother, you sometimes think in your head, 'I could be doing something better or try harder or I'm not a good mother,'" Gilbert says. "But after watching the film, I can say I'm a good mother. I do what I need to do for my children."