More Mothers Ditching Maternity Leave Early


Check out this interesting article from YourTango:

Thanks to Bravo, housewives are a big hit on the reality TV circuit these days. But in real life, unscripted women are hard at work balancing being wives, mother and full-time employees.

study by the U.S. Census Bureau shows that a majority of first-time, working mothers are receiving paid maternity leave. This is the first time this has happened since the government began tracking that data, which was back in the early 80s. Women with college educations reap even more of a benefit; ladies with bachelor’s degrees or higher are more likely to get paid maternity leave than those with less than a high school diploma.

Interestingly, it was also found that despite that perk of paid leave, many mothers are working later and later into their pregnancies—and returning to work sooner than mothers in previous generations did.

It’s all a reflection of economic struggles, according to experts in the field. More and more often, families are relying on women to be primary breadwinners, which is a huge shift from that archaic “women as homemakers, men as moneymakers” marriage worldview. In addition, working up until the delivery and returning to the office quickly sends a signal to employers that a woman is “dedicated,” according to some experts. Cost of childcare—and ability to afford it—is also a huge factor.

Arguments could be made for and against these developments. On the plus side, it’s great that more employers are realizing the importance of maternity leave and, as a result, are paying their employees for the duration of the leave. However, it could also be argued that women who aren’t taking advantage of their full leave period are missing time that could be spent connecting with their newborns — and precious recuperation time.

  • mkclipp

    I took my entire 3 months of paid maternity leave and I still don’t think it was enough.  I have a high level position managing a wellness program for more than 6,700 employees.  I think I came back to work too early and now, after 5 months of being back, just feel like I’m getting into the swing of things. 

    Childbirth and motherhood are huge life-changing events.  These events should not be taken lightly.  It is not easy to be pregnant, give birth and learn to be a new mother.  There is a reason that company’s give maternity leave and I think it’s detrimental to our society and to children for mothers to go back to work earlier than they feel is ready.

  • terrilynnmerritts

    I like how Europeans do it with both maternity and paternity leave available. I value my time and spent a lot of it getting an education including grad school. I have a dream career. While I wanted to be a mom and had a planned pregnancy, we also arranged for help (including from the dad) because I am not just a uterus on legs. Kids have parents, not just mothers. We had a home birth and I was out of the bed half an hour after she was born and had a shower and went out to the pediatrician the next day. Pregnancy and childbirth isn’t a sickness. It is natural and normal. I am self-employed and work from home so had a more flexible situation than many women. 


    I find it appalling that every woman does not have the chance to stay home with her newborn for at least 9 months. You will never get this precious time to nurture and bond which the effects of will last a lifetime and even generations. It is a very sad state this country is in. While we claim family values are important, our actions as a society do not reflect this. I took the 6 months maternity leave offered by my employer (partially unpaid) and resigned to stay home for the first 2 years with my baby-it was the best thing I have ever done. Worth the sacrifice, adjustments and struggle and yes I would do it again.