It has been on my mind for quite a while. I have not been able to formulate the words I feel, yet I know there are articles and blogs out there that state the facts, opinions, and emotions of countless mothers, soon-to-be mothers, and of course fathers out there that have experienced or will soon experience what it is like to bring a child into this world. I think about it in relation to when my sister had my niece, when my friends have had their babies, and when my colleagues (both men and women) have had to come back to work so quickly, either because of financial or work related reasons. What am I ranting about?
Parental leave in the United States.
A few days ago I read an article on The Huffington Post titled: “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President” that brought tears to my eyes for its authenticity, rawness, and the poignant reality to parents and families in the United States. Over time I for some reason have collected articles and personal blogs about parental leave because I am stunned and aghast that a country that is as progressive, modern, and futuristic as the US that we treat our mothers and babies as though it is 1770. How can we have pride for a country that keeps its eyes closed about this issue?
A Wikipedia search for “Parental Leave” shares a chart of all the countries in the world. Only two countries list “0” days. Papua New Guinea and the United States. How is that possible? How is it that every other country in the world has some type of paid parental leave policy and all we have is a law that means we will not lose our job (FMLA of course). What does that say about our countries support for families and the bonding that is necessary at the beginning of a child’s life? Some of the countries on the list not only give you time off before you have the baby, but an extensive amount of time after the child is born. Note: the District of Columbia does require employers to give paid time off. So does that mean that all of our politicians are covered, but regular American citizens are not? Can you believe Sweden gets 16 months off for maternity leave? What does this mean for parents and families that cannot afford to take any time off? Who is taking care of those babies in the immediate days after birth?
A search on Change.org resulted in many petitions all of which are closed. This is an issue that deserves our attention. How can we be in LAST PLACE? Read “A Working Mother’s Plea to the President.” It is time to speak up.