Thursday, April 10, 2014

Maternity Leave

I'm far from a feminist, in fact I'd like to get my hands on the chick that decided it was a good idea to burn her bra and get everyone all riled up....doesn't she realize she had a good thing going? 
staying at babies....

I'm kidding. Kind of

I'm glad the women of our past blazed trails and gave the career driven chicas out there the opportunity to work hard and do what they love.It sucks for those of us whose dream job is being a full-time mama and wife but whatever...can't win em all. 

Along those lines, I don't like talking about politics. Political rants drive me crazy. I think everyone has a right to an opinion and while I have pretty strong political views I prefer to keep my mouth shut...not because I'm ignorant, not because I don't care but because everyone has an opinion and me disagreeing and getting all fired up isn't going to change that opinion.


There is one issue that really gets me going {well, there are several but this one I won't keep my mouth shut on}....MATERNITY LEAVE. 

Did you know that the United States is the ONLY industrialized country in the entire world that doesn't offer paid maternity leave?
Because of some bull $h*t that went down at my former place of employment, I was only on maternity leave for six weeks. SIX WEEKS. Yup, I returned to my desk just six weeks after giving birth. I was no where near the mental state to be functioning at a job - I was still recovering, I was exhausted, I was hormonal, I was emotional to the extreme. I had JUST gotten breastfeeding established and it was finally going great, just in time for me to return to work and be away from my baby for 8 hours a day which needless to say damaged my breastfeeding relationship and supply. The stress and anxiety of childcare and leaving my baby with someone else was overwhelming and nearly paralyzing - and I was lucky enough to leave my daughter with our parents. The days leading up to that first day back were some of my all time worst. I know that returning to work is hard for a mama whether it's after six weeks or six months, but six weeks is too soon! While there was no permanent damage done to me or to Kenley {that I know of} it was an unnecessary stress six weeks in to my child's life and frankly is was unfair.

My friend Kari, shared this article "Dear America, please tell Congress we want paid maternity leave" and I absolutely love it! The author has some amazing points and information on the issue and I encourage all of you to read it!

Also, those of you who are pregnant or plan to be sometime soon, make sure you understand your company's policies on maternity leave as soon as humanly possible so that you can plan accordingly. If you need to save up money or save up vacation days in preparation for maternity leave, it's better to know that 9 months {or more} before baby comes! I'd also recommend making yourself familiar with the current maternity leave laws just to be sure your company is in line.

be sure to visit my friend:


P!nky said...

UGH! That's awful, I had no idea, since I've never been pregnant.

I can't believe you had to be back six weeks after birth, i thought twelve was short. I'm sorry friend.

Kaileigh said...

I'm Canadian and every single time I see a post by an American blogger about mat leave, or going back to work after having their baby I'm just baffled. I don't have kids yet, but I really can't imagine going back to work after 6 weeks!

Joanna said...

It's so sad, isn't it?! There is that Family Leave Act, which I'm not sure if it's nation wide or just here in Cali. It allows for a lot longer but without pay. Tempting but very difficult. Luckily, I'm a teacher and usually we try to time our pregnancies so that summer break will follow our 6 weeks. Sounds like a dream but as you can imagine, timing a pregnancy can be hard as well. The lengths we have to go through just to spend time with our babies!!

Nikki said...

This is such a terrible thing in the US! My mom and I were JUST talking about this last night with me getting ready to go out myself. It absolutely disgusts me that I will have to go back to work way sooner than I want to. I hate to even think about it. Thanks for sharing the Dear America article!

Tiff said...

As a soon to be mom, maternity leave really stresses me out. We are SO lucky that the timing worked out and baby will be born close to the end of a school year and I will only have to return to work for 2 days (so I don't have to take unpaid time), but the fact that I work for a school district - you know, educating and taking care of our nation's youth - that has a "use your sick days or take unpaid leave" policy is mind-boggling. The fact that other people get 0 time off breaks my heart.

There are also SO MANY people who do not understand maternity policies and laws. People keep telling me to "get that FMLA leave", but they don't understand that it is NOT paid maternity leave, it is just job protection for some working people. Plenty of jobs are exempt from it :-(

Anonymous said...

Well done!! xo m

Jessica @ Better Together and Forever said...

Oh how I applaud you right now! I am going through dealing with how much time should I take for maternity leave and its killing me right now!! I work in Human Resources and I do feel that unpaid maternity leave is just plain awful. I haven't taken a day off work since December 26th because I am trying to save every single hour of sick and vacation time as possible. It stresses me out to the core needing to save the time when really I need a day off to just get back into some mental stabilization. To see all of those countries with PAID maternity leave, it just really hurts. I know that I will be taking at least 8 weeks paid leave (sick and vacation time combined) but the additional 4 weeks that I can take unpaid, I am still not sure of as of this minute. The unpaid part is whats killing me.

Bridget said...

This is something that baffles me also! I want to move to Canada until I'm done having kids! Seriously...50 weeks...that's so awesome! I HATED going back after 12 weeks...I can't imagine having to go back at 6. I feel so bad for anybody that is unable to take off longer. It's so unfair!

Kari said...

My heart breaks that you had to go back after 6 weeks! Going back after 12 weeks hard enough and I have a very flexible job. I felt like as soon as I had to go back was when we were just getting some routines established. And then of course they all went out the window but maybe that is just parenthood?!

I'm shocked though that there isn't mandated, paid maternity leave in the US. Sometimes we are such a lost nation. Ugh. Want to move to Canada and be neighbors?

Leah D said...

Totally agree! I actually went back part-time after 2 weeks. And then full-time after 4 weeks. But my MIL was laid off at the time, so she stayed home with Hailey her first year.

Erin @ Keep Calm and Sparkle said...

Gah I am pissed about this too!! I had to return after 6 weeks too and I had a c-section and my incision cite wasn't totally healed yet. I did get to do part time for two weeks but still not ideal!! It bites my ass EVERY time I think about it!!!

Christelle said...

I work for a Canadian company so I'm constantly reminded by my co-workers how different our job policies are even within the same company. They also get 6 weeks of vacation. Not fair!

I can only imagine how difficult it was for you going back to work after 6 weeks...obviously the people that created that law never birthed a child! I never knew that fact about the US and paid maternity leave...just goes to show "our" priorities.

Kate said...

I feel so fortunate in some ways being from canada (except when I can't order from annoying!!), i got to spend an entire year at home with my son and now 7 months later am going off on mat leave once again. I am not making half of what I was at work, but it's better than not bringing in any kind of pay check and having that time together is something I wouldn't give back for any amount of money. I don't know how all you brave mamas do it going back at 6+ weeks post-partum. I could barely function at that point! You all deserve a medal, I applaud you all!!

Jessica said...

I seriously cannot fathom why nothing has been done about this yet. I was like you, and only got 6 weeks UNPAID leave (worked for a small business that didn't have to comply with FMLA)and it was the worst thing ever. So thankful to be at home with my sweet boy now, but will always be sad that I couldn't have been there with him for longer when he was a newborn.

Ashley @ Life on the Parsons Farm said...

I can't tell you how much this bothers me as well!!!!! I want to become president to change this and infertility/adoption expenses as well!!!

Ashley said...

I'm telling you girl, pack up and move north! We will welcome you and the fam with open arms :)

WinterBenson said...

I've seen that photo before. It's nuts just how behind the times the US is on the mat leave issue. I'm extremely fortunate to live in Canada and ended up taking over a year off before and after I had Harper. I used my sick time to take time off before she was born and then went on maternity and parental leave afterwards. The only thing that suffered was my paycheque, but that's fine, because I was able to be home with her, and when I went back to work the first of march, I was ready. If I had to go back after 6 weeks, I'm sure I would have lived through it, but I think it's totally crazy. Mamas should get WAY more time than that off after carrying, birthing, and going through the newborn phase. I really don't blame you one bit for getting fired up about it!

Elizabeth {Chasin' Mason} said...

Just found your blog through Yellow Mango Life and had to comment on this post. I SO AGREE. I was lucky enough to be able to take 12 weeks off, but only got my full pay for maybe 6 weeks due to the fact that my company was nice enough to make me use my sick time and vacation time first (so I got full pay) and then I had to apply for FLMA. Which is also a crime because they take FOREVER to pay you!!!! Like I was almost back to work before they paid me anything. Ridiculous. THANKFULLY my friend works for a congressperson and had an EDD connection or I would have never gotten paid. I called once to talk to someone and the message said "thank you for calling. there are too many people ahead of you. good bye" and HUNG UP. The US really needs to change some things, especially regarding maternity leave!!! Six weeks off is a crime. I'm so sorry :(

Ashleigh said...

Thanks for sharing sweet girl! I truly love this post & its very helpful..

Ashleigh said...

Thanks for sharing sweet girl! I truly love this post & its very helpful..

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