There are many new parents in the US who are forced to come back to work while not even close to being ready to do so. Here are some of the parental leave stories showing the absurd system.
I had to go without a vacation or any time off for more than two years in order to accrue the measly seven weeks I had. I couldn’t afford to be without a pay check, so I went back the day after my PTO (paid time off) ran out. It was awful. My milk supply was still regulating, no one was sleeping through the night, and within a couple weeks, I was hit with serious postpartum depression. This country can afford the paid leave. We are literally the effing worst for not providing it. nleninsky918,Hassan Vakil
I had to return to work two weeks after losing my son at 25.5 weeks pregnant — I had given birth to an angel naturally and vaginally. While it was considered a vaginal birth, since I did not give birth to a living child, I was expected to return as soon as possible.
I am a 911 dispatcher, and in my first month back I took four phone calls for SIDS deaths from moms or dads. I almost didn’t stick with my dream job because I didn’t have the time to grieve and then took several very traumatic and relatable calls. headsethero973,Scary Side of Earth
I had our preemie daughter at 29 weeks pregnant, while on a work trip. She was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for 63 days. After being discharged on Wednesday and driving home two states away, I had to be at work the following Monday. I had four days at home with her and then had to split my time between a preemie and my job. emilykwatkins9,Sharon McCutcheon
I had to go back to work after four weeks because I couldn’t afford not to. I used up all my PTO for two of the weeks I stayed home and the other two were unpaid. Walking by the receptionist that first day back, she goes, ‘Wait you’re back? Didn’t you JUST have a baby?’ I immediately burst into tears right in front of her. I then was basically crying the entire day from missing my baby so much and feeling incredibly guilty being away from him. It was the worst. emilyvd,Fa Barboza
My husband got one day of paternity leave. It happened to be his one day off that week. Then he went back to working 12-14 hour days.
It was my first baby and I was completely alone. No friends or family helped, visited, or even called. It was extremely traumatic. I had stitches and was in a diaper, I had this newborn I had no idea what to do with, and I was completely alone. It was horrible and so unnecessary. rollerskates,Sean Roy
I had a very positive experience so kudos to my employer (Bank of America). They currently offer 16 weeks of PAID leave plus the option to take an additional 10 weeks of unpaid leave. My first two pregnancies I took the 16 weeks then with the third/last baby we saved up like crazy and I took all 26 weeks off.
I feel awful every time I talk to other parents and learn other companies do so poorly. Support your employees and their families and they will remain loyal to you! melisaperezp,Derek Thomson
Honestly, I’m one of the fewer, luckier American moms. I work for a small-mediumish sized company. I hadn’t been working there for over a year so I didn’t qualify for FMLA. When I found out I was pregnant, they let me switch to working from home full-time, indefinitely. I honestly thought I’d have to take unpaid leave for maternity leave but they let me know that they’re going to give me five weeks off, 100% fully-paid. And that when I started working again that I had the option to work part-time (paid hourly. Basically what my monthly salary was broken down) and slowly working back to full-time (then getting switched back to salary again). I was basically working part time for the first 4-5 months. I have been back full-time now for almost 8 months. Still working from home. Still kicking ass at my job. I go into the office for a few days every few months. It helps tremendously that I have such supportive co-workers and understanding bosses. Donut_Belong_Here,Derick McKinney
I had six weeks paid which was great because I knew so many people that didn’t even get that. I worked five minutes away from my house and was set up for success when it came to being a working mom. But the six weeks off flew by so quickly and my postpartum anxiety got the better of me to the point that I would scream at my mom who was watching my child just for driving with her without my permission. I was not okay enough to start working but I couldn’t recognize it. ericahopem,engin akyurt
I hadn’t been at my job long enough to qualify for FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) so they didn’t have to keep my position open. They didn’t, which meant I was applying and interviewing for jobs while seven-to-eight months pregnant. I even went to an interview a few days after leaving the hospital (post C-section, mind you).
I started a new job three weeks after having my daughter. I hadn’t even been medically cleared. Luckily, my husband was able to take FMLA to be home at that time. It was awful and played havoc with my emotions, but it is what we had to do. needsanap,Tim Gouw
I was a single parent and could only afford to take four weeks off after the birth of my oldest son. I hated it. All I wanted was to spend time with my baby and bond with him, but I had to go right back to the grind because I didn’t qualify for any paid leave at all. shaunathomas,Muhammad Murtaza Ghani