Did you know that only 14% of civilian workers in the United States have access to paid parental leave? Yeah, let that hit you. A quarter of women in this country have to go back to work only two weeks after having a baby due to the lack of paid leave policies in place. This is a policy that must change before women can truly achieve parity in the workforce.
Unless, of course, you are my therapist, who should never be allowed to skip a session with me because I need her desperately.
Reports have shown that six months of maternity is the minimum amount of time required to optimize the mother and the baby’s health. However, if my therapist left me for six months, I would fall apart and disintegrate. So, I’m thinking maybe her maternity leave could be like, six days? Thirteen if it’s a C-section? Does that feel fair? It does to me!
The human body takes forty week to recover from childbirth, and the postpartum period can be unbelievably stressful and difficult for a mother. Though I will say, the anxiety and general pain I would feel if my therapist had to take maternity leave is potentially similar? I have never had a baby, but I do consider my therapist my professional mother. I hope she considers that if she ever decides to have her own baby, which in my eyes, feels very selfish considering I need her.
Workplace equality starts with not pitting motherhood and career success against each other. A parent-to-be shouldn’t have to choose between raising their new baby and their job. But until there are policies in place that grant parents the leave they need, we won’t get there.
But also, now that I’m thinking about it, if my therapist decides to have a baby and take a maternity leave, that is sort of jeopardizing my health, so for true equality to actually exist, my therapist should have her baby right after one of my sessions, spend the next six days recovering, then be sitting in her chair the following week ready to listen to me complain about my love life for an hour.
That’s only fair.