Saturday, July 28, 2012

Response to: Maternity Leave? It's More Like A Pause, NY Times article

Not a single mother interviewed in this article from the New York Times: Maternity Leave? It's More Like a Pause" was from the "natural birth" or "sitting moon" (40-day postpartum healing and bonding time) end of the spectrum.

They interviewed only women who took just a few days or weeks off and continued working.  And loved it. This is exactly the kind of social influence from leaders, Hollywood, and commercial interests that I discuss in my book, New Mother.

The message in the article is loud and clear: American women, forget about taking care of yourselves and bonding with your children.  Work trumps all.

We give birth, if we're blessed, perhaps only once in our lives.  Our babies are only babies for one year. And ever-increasingly, our society refers to this sacred event and magical time as something to be tended to briefly, and gotten over with as painlessly as possible, in exchange for further financial gain and ladder-climbing.

Quoted in the article is Jane M. Swift, who was a month into her term as acting governor of
Massachusetts when she had a C-section with her twins.  She took essentially no maternity leave, and said that "for people in prominent positions, with great responsibilities but some control over their schedules, sacrificing a pure maternity leave can be worth it in the long run."

Worth what?

What are these kind of leaders and role models representing?  Is this how we want our daughters to define happiness and success?  What kind of society can we expect in the future with more and more women "leading us" in this direction?
I, and millions of other mothers, find joy in dedicating ourselves to the care of our babies. We consider it our greatest duty and honor (even if we love working in jobs at all other times in our lives.)

And if you could ask any baby, they'd disagree that it's "worth it" to do otherwise if the choice to care for our newborn is available.

ALLIE CHEE After earning a BA in literature and a 2nd degree black belt in Korean martial arts, 20 years traveling in 50 countries, working in numerous entrepreneurial ventures, and serving as co-publisher of a leading financial industry magazine, Allie Chee lives in Silicon Valley with her husband and daughter and is a student at Stanford.

Her articles have appeared in: 
•  The Well Being Journal
•  The Holistic Networker
•  The Birthing Site
•  Natural Mother Magazine 
•  MidwiferyToday

Her published titles are: New Mother, Free Love, and Go, Jane!

Website:  Facebook: 
NEW MOTHER on Amazon


Henry R. said...

Yes, leaders have a social responsibility.

Zahra B.A. said...

Bravo! Mothers who want to care for their babies when they can.