Maternity Leave or the Lack of Thereof

I always get mad when the time comes around to deal with the reality that I will not get paid for being on maternity leave. Sure, I get my job protection for 12 weeks, thanks, government, but where is the money to care for my child’s expense? No wonder, I always get responses like “Congratulations honey…having a child is sooooooo expensive”. “You think I don’t know, I am living with this reality right now!”. So why have a child, some might wonder. Yes, that’s right! Let me be a good parent by not putting another human being in this terrible scary world! That is just the type of thinking that humanity needs to thrive the world!

I don’t like to write about negative topics but this is very personal to me and I think it’s very unfair. So instead of dwelling on it, I decided to go online and make some research. I went to Google and typed “Why doesn’t USA pay for Maternity Leave”, simply because I just want to know “Why”? This is what I found!

Barack Obama says United States only developed country without paid maternity leave

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address on Jan. 20, 2015, in the House Chamber of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

President Barack Obama sent signs in the days leading up to the 2015 State of the Union address that he would once again call for Congress to require paid maternity leave for all workers. For those hoping he would, he didn’t disappoint.

This article on Tampa Bay Times uplifted my spirits immediately. Even though I will be on an unpaid maternity leave, this means that my daughters might live to see this law passed and will be able to enjoy their precious babies without the financial stress and burden.

I went along with my day completely forgotten of this issue because I know that change will take time but as long as we work towards the change, it will eventually happen. It was a beautiful day, indeed and after hibernating this whole winter I just had to take my daughter out to the play ground, no matter how exhausted I was feeling. I always beat myself because I work full time and do not have enough energy to keep up with my energy bunny at home and not being able to provide her with fun and exciting activities.

We had just arrived at the park and the baby decided to kick me in the bladder. Let’s be honest I am 38 weeks pregnant and it is very hard not to run to the bathroom every hour. We were next to a middle school and elementary school so I thought I would just go in and take care of my business. It was after hours so the school was closed but I did see two teacher in the elementary play yard and decided to ask them, if they would allow me to use their bathroom. They looked at each other and said “I am sorry I cannot let you in, it’s against policy”. I blushed with anger and insisted “Even to a 9 month pregnant that cannot resist her bladder?”And they apologized apologetically that they would get in trouble if they allowed anyone in.

The anger that I had felt early towards the lack of respect that women and specifically mothers do not have in this country, which is clearly demonstrated by the lack of paid maternity leave.I decided to hold my bladder and not let that ruined my daughter’s fun but the whole time I was thinking. Does unpaid maternity leave in away affect our society towards how mother’s and pregnant women are portrayed?

I think USA in general has developed a passive culture where people just accept important aspect of society that should change and choose not to claim for changes to happen.

There are many issues in this and all societies of course but for the sake of this post, maternity is one of those issues that need to be squared out immediately. In my opinion I think that the lack of governmental support for the mother that need maternity leave has a huge impact on children’s upbringing.

It is very discouraging that our society today is more intuitive towards technology and having the latest gadgets yet lacking behind on many important attributes of society. Today, many countries offer about 6-12 month of paid maternity leave, although most of the leave will not be 100% paid. What’s more impressive is that now in some countries they are offering father’s up to 6 months of paid leave. I remember reporting this to one of my friends and she replied that she thought it was not affair to have someone leave their position for that long because the other employee’s will have to carry all the burden. Although, she has a point, it made me think that maternity leave must be shaped by society’s perceptive on family. Why does it work in some countries and not in others? In other to pass the law on paid maternity leave in the US, our society is going to have to revalue motherhood first.

I remember crying during some instances where I felt humiliated when I had just had my first daughter. I had felt mistreated many times by just fulling my role of a mother and I remember thinking to myself, how hard it is to be a mother.Yes, I think all mother’s are a super women and they can conquer and defeat anything and for that she should be treated with up most respect and with dignity. So, if a pregnant woman is standing in the train, everyone that sees her should get up and give her their seats and if a woman is struggling to fit her stroller through tight spaces, she is probably embarrassed by it and any little help will alleviate her anxiety. But people should to go on with their lives oblivious and they will not offer the pregnant woman their seat because they don’t even see her, to them she is not even important. But how are we to blame society for not dignifying a mother if the government doesn’t even see a mother’s importance?

Some even might think that paid maternity leave is unfair, free money. Is it really unfair to give mothers the stability to raise a human that will eventually fulfill their citizenship role and values that society implements? Is it really free money when a mother has to perform the toughest, hardest and most important duty of this life?

Not only is paid maternity leave economically beneficial to parents but it has a lot of health benefits. For one if you give a mother paid leave than she can give anything to her child without the stressful financial burden. If you also extent her leave even if it’s not entirely paid it is not only beneficial to the mother but also the newborn. As they have more time to create an unbreakable bond and enjoy the time that will never come again. Perhaps, giving mother’s more time with her child with financial stability will lower the percentage of SIDS. Mother’s will not be impelled to return to work because of financial reason’s, therefore not overtiring themselves with their work and having to fulfill their mother’s role.For that, many studies have to be created and valued but I fear that our image towards motherhood has not escalated as a priority.

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One thought on “Maternity Leave or the Lack of Thereof

  1. Pingback: Maternity Leave or the Lack of Thereof | Andrea Blossom

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