Go to fullsize image  First, I will tell you the good news.  I just heard through my email grapevine that Congress just passed a bill (HR 5781) which provides that 8 of 12 weeks of parental leave made available to federal employees shall be PAID leave.  Check here for a recap of what the bill says.  Of course, the White House is expected to veto it.  Heaven forbid we spend money on paid family leave so that talented men and women can support their families during a physically draining and stressful time.  You know, if you start paying people to stay home on maternity leave, they just might come back to work after the 12 weeks are up.  They might feel supported by employers, a sense of loyalty, and not to mention, they might actually be able to keep their financial future secure without sacrificing the American Dream of having 2.5 children.

The U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world (You got that right, the WORLD) that does not provide paid maternity leave.  We rank right up there with Swaziland and Liberia (Of course, both are third world countries) on that one.  Which makes absolutely no sense, seeing as how we have very similar economies to those countries. 

You may be thinking, “Big deal!  I’m not a federal employee!  I don’t get paid maternity leave.”  You would be right about that fact.  You don’t, at least not yet.  You see, change has to start somewhere.  First it will be paid leave for federal workers, and then you.  Slow change is still change.  It’s about time that something family friendly occurs since the original FMLA came into fruition in 1993.  Other highlights related to this:  Flight Attendents may now be eligible for FMLA and also part-time workers.

I feel particularly angry when I think about having to take unpaid leave.  I ended up deciding to leave a job I really enjoyed because it was too expensive and stressful to care for young children/infants.  You see, after using what little vacation pay I had to cover 2 weeks of my 8 week maternity leave, I had no sick days left and no employer support for having to care for family when illness did arrive.  I actually received calls at 5 weeks into my maternity leave from my boss asking if I would come back the next day.  The crazy reasoning: You’re not getting paid for staying home.  You should just come back to earn some money. 

 Tomas ended up using all his vacation for newborn doctors appointments or to care for sick children.  I was forced to go to work feverish and coughing.  By the time I was pregnant with Anson, I still had very little sick time and was crying from exhaustion by the end of the work week. Enough was enough, with having to constantly take unpaid sick days/leave and paying for daycare, the cost benefits to working fulltime was next to nothing. 

In actuality, employers don’t like the “hassle” that women of child bearing age because mothers will have to spend a portion of their days trying to raise a healthy family.  It might distract from giving a 100% to their jobs and that would be the end of the automatons, I guess.  Employers dread and will avoid having to deal with pregnant employees.  It’s the sad truth my friends.  But alas, there is hope that opinions and attitudes about raising healthy citizens will eventually change.  That this bill will slowly spread countrywide to give some mommies a well deserved boost.

 THEN, after gaining some hope for women’s issues in the U.S., I read this:  The AMA wants to pass legislation regulating home births.  What this means to you, the woman, the wife, the mother, is that a governing body could eventually deem it unlawful for a woman to have a homebirth accompanied by a midwife or alone.  Why?  Because they feel it would be better and safer for women to give birth in a medical institution such as traditional hospitals.  Perhaps if you were a high risk pregnancy that would be true, but healthy women giving birth at home have very successful and healthy deliveries.

I have but a few issues with this resolution.  One being:  Show me the proof.  I haven’t seen any statistical data showing me that if I will have a better delivery in a hospital with a doctor compared with a home birth accompanied by a certified midwife.  Second issue:  How the @#$# can you enforce this?  What’s the punishment for this crime going to be?  Are they going to follow pregnant women around to make sure they don’t give birth behind closed doors?  Third Issue:  Women are not blindly making birth choices.  A home birth is a personal choice that is made after thoughtful consideration.  I feel as if “the man” thinks the “wo-man” can’t decipher an elephant from a flea.  Fourth Issue:  You and I both know that conceiving a child in a hospital is not cheap.  There’s a lot of money that changes hands for this “medical procedure”.  If too many women decide to have home births, who’t getting paid?  Hmmm….it’s that almighty pocketbook thing again.

Anyway, I am hopping off my soap box now.  If you would like to sign a petition voicing your detest for this resolution, hop over here.  You can also click on the “Home Birth is a Choice” button to view Cruncy Domestic Goddess’ post on this issue.  It’s where I first heard about it. 

Here are a couple/three other sites to read about it on:  Here and Here and Here