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Maternity Leave...a Necessity or a Luxury?

   A woman spends nine months carrying a child. It's safe to say many women don't get that much time to stay home and bond with their baby once he or she is born. I've talked to a lot of women who have had to go back to work after just six weeks home. Six weeks...seriously? That's ridiculous. Let me break it down for you the way I see it. During the first two weeks after birth, your body is so beat up from being pregnant and labor that you can just about function. Add the duties of mothering a newborn and you're just a hot mess looking for your next caffeine hit. So, that leaves four weeks to bond with your baby. The only bonding you're doing is with their diapers and spit up. During the first month babies basically eat, sleep, and poop. It's not until they reach that three month mark that they become more interactive. That's not to say you can't bond with them before then, but all the fun stuff happens later...just in time for you to go back to work. Other women I've talked to are lucky enough to get around 12 weeks off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, but don't get paid for the entire time. That leaves many to deal with the tough choice of losing money or losing time with their child. As many people struggle to earn a buck, many have to choose cash over their child if they want to keep a roof over their heads.
   That is a sad scenario for such a world leader as the United States. I was reading that the U.S. and Australia are the only industrialized countries that don't give moms paid leave nationally. Some states have different rules though. One article I read (http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2005-07-26-maternity-leave_x.htm) talked about a woman in Canada who got 14 months of paid maternity leave! That's amazing and something that I think will never happen here in the good old  U-S of A. The article also talked about a couple in Sweden who was splitting 16 months of what they call parental leave at 80% pay. And"Czech" this out....I read that in the Czech Republic all mothers can decide to take 2, 3, or 4 years of maternity leave! The state supports them during that time period. That would never fly in the U.S. There are also other countries that have generous maternity leave policies. Wikipedia actually breaks it down in a nice chart. Here's the link if you want to check it out (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave).
   So, where did the U.S. drop the ball? Do we not value a mother or father's time with their child? Would the children in this country end up better if they had more time with their parents before being shipped off to daycare or some other caregiver? No one truly knows, but here's my two cents. No one is going to love or take care of a child like a parent, unless of course they are abusing them or on drugs or something. No one is going to instill the values you want your child to have better than you. Unfortunately, we live in a country where things like that are not valued (then we wonder why some kids have so many problems and are so screwed up). If we did, more women would have access to paid maternity leave to give them time to bond with their children when they are most vulnerable.
   I know some women who would cringe at the idea of two or three years maternity leave. Some women just itch to get back to work because staying at home just isn't for them. But, they should have that option. Right now so many women don't have the choice to take the time off or leave it and to me that is just not fair.

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Comment by Stephanie Joseph on December 8, 2011 at 5:50pm

Maternity leave is a necessity! If more woman spent time raising their children instead of daycares I truly believe society would have a lot less problems. But that's America's biggest problem...we don't value family like other cultures. We value items and spend so much time trying to make enough money to have the next best thing. I took off 4 months with my daughter & finally went back to work 20 hours a week. I would rather be poor "monetarily" while being "rich" in time spent with my children. 

Comment by RZ on December 5, 2011 at 10:33pm
That's probably why God took him. God knew that little one was an angel that needed to stay in heaven...
Comment by silvermix81 on December 5, 2011 at 8:56pm

thank you Rocio Zarger luckly she has two very healthy kids already. she was just really wanting another baby. i can't imagaine what she went through. she did have to carry the baby 3 more days after he had passed before she could be induced and give birth. if you can even call it birth. but she did get to hold him and lo0ve him before they took him away. we like to just think that God took him bc he was too perfect for this world. i think it's a nice thought.

Comment by RZ on December 5, 2011 at 12:48pm
That's so sad! I am so sorry to hear that. Its not easy to loose a baby. I lost 1 baby before that surgery due to a miscarriage and another after my 1st girl was born. Total of 2 miscarriages and 2 good pregnancies.I never got to see and hold the babies i lost in miscarriages but i was terribly sad! So I imagine her pain and sadness was much worse. Because now she knows what to give birth means and how her baby looked like and everything, OMG!
Please let her know that is up to her to try again when she feels ready. I was told to adopt since I really wanted to be a mother and there are so many children suffering without love and care. At the end that never happened since we got pregnant again and was succesful but perhaps your friend will have the joy of motherhood with a child that has lost his/her mom as well :-)
My prayers are with her.

I truly think that we as women deserved to get equal rights BUT in terms of voting, equal jobs/paid and all that BUT forgot to add some needs. Like a good maternity leave. Perhaps now is the time to request and fight for that. Our daughters will need it too!
Comment by silvermix81 on December 5, 2011 at 11:15am

Rocio Zarger i agree and congrats on your lo! if you don't need more than 6 weeks you must be super woman imo. my girlfriend also has an ovary removed though not from cancr. she too got pregnant right after. they did tell her she shouldn't have any problem getting pregnant though. her baby had lots of problems and they recently lost it. she went though birth at 20 weeks. she is just now getting her baby's ashes, picking out urns, etc. weeks later. so not only is her body a wreck her emotions are too. who plans for that?! to say that she only needs 6 weeks is an outrage imo. luckly she gets to be a sahm. her husband is a trucker though so i often worry about her being by herself bc this is too much to deal with. she was also told that if she has any other babies they will likely have the same fate. so now she also has to get fixed after 6 weeks unless she wants to try again. she doen't. this has been too emotionally and physically draining as you can imagine. i can't imagaine to be half way there, give birth to a dead baby and instead of snacking on sweet snacks and picking out baby clothes she has to be picking out urns etc. i'm not saying this to depress anyone just saying bc she was going to have all her money for the birth but no one expected this to happen. so yes you can plan but yes it doesn't go always as planned. that's life. they are working on paying it off though, not expecting a hand out. hopefully it gets better for women but i don't see it happening on it's own. women fought for equal rights and as someone said. we got it! problem is that now they want us to not be women imo. yes we are going to have things were we need off bc we're not men. we have babies and they don't. so no we can't have the same treatment bc it wouldn't be good for us or our babies. i think women are going to just have to fight this one as well. maybe if enough would refuse to go back til they are ready things would change. though they may call your bluff and you got to be ready for that financially.

Comment by RZ on December 5, 2011 at 8:11am
I agree, it's not a luxury, it's a necessity. In my case I had to pay an emergency surgery before I got pregnant. I had some cancer removed in my ovaries and one had to be removed, the other ovary is still there but just 75% of it. I was told I would struggle to get pregnant. But wasnt the case. So after having no money in savings I got blessed with a pregnancy so we were very happy BUT had no money and lots of debts. We made it work but I agree that our maternity leave is a joke for what we as mothers need to endure sometimes.
Comment by Samantha Shea Curran on December 5, 2011 at 12:10am

Well I got pregnant on accident. I was scared to death with no savings, living in a 1 bdr apartment with no health insurance. So I originally did not have a plan whatsoever. We MADE it work. I got organized and found out what process I needed to take to have a healthy pregnancy. I paid out of pocket for a lot until open enrollment was available through my work. When it came to maternity leave I was given 6 weeks non-paid and it was brutal. My whole point was even when things are not ideal, you just find a way to make it work. Maternity leave is far from just being a luxury. It is a necessity and I am sure most doctors would agree. 

Comment by RZ on December 4, 2011 at 11:07pm
Well, the article was about if maternity leave is a luxury or a necessity.
If people can plan everything perfectly that's so great. I guess to bad for the babies that their parents tried to plan everything perfectly but life worked things out differently.
Comment by silvermix81 on December 4, 2011 at 4:47pm
Comment by Samantha Shea Curran on December 4, 2011 at 8:50am

That's exactly what I had said. We know what country we live in, we know how much insurance costs, we also know what our company provides us with in regards to maternity leave and FMLA. So it's all about proper planning if bringing a baby into the world is what you want to do. Nothing about babies are cheap lol I don't care where you live. 

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