This week in Birth Matters I want to share a random but very interesting selection of news stories.
Parental leave is a huge issue for American families and especially postpartum mothers who are often faced with the difficult choice, daunting transition and extraordinary task of juggling motherhood and workplace. According to this article, "the U.S. is the only developed country in the world that doesn't mandate paid family leave" (Domonoske).
However, changes are beginning to take form and this week New York instituted a law that will compensate parents for up to 12 weeks of leave. New York is the fourth state to offer paid family leave and to expand unpaid leave, along with California, New Jersey and Rhode Island. This is a step in the right direction, but the majority of American families are still left unsupported with unpaid leave that only lasts 6 weeks. Hopefully paid and expanded parental leave, for women and men, will become a legislative trend.
On the same note, Patagonia released a video today called "We Can Be Both: Mothers at Work". The video features several female employees of Patagonia and their very positive experience with Patagonia's on-site child care, a service that has been offered at Patagonia for over thirty years!
On a less positive note, this article depicts the daily struggles experienced by our neighbors in Flint. It is so easy to loose track of the news as it fades out of the headlines and is replaced by other stories, but these stories explain how this water crisis is effecting so many families and daily activities. Our thoughts remain with the residents of Flint, click here to get more information about the water crisis.
A resent study explored the question, "Does Exercise During Pregnancy Lead To Exercise-Loving Offspring?" To explore this question the study used mice and found that mice born to active mothers were more active. However, this conclusion cannot be mapped onto humans. Furthermore, "it's important that no mother interpret these results as a criticism if she didn't exercise much during pregnancy. Those of us who have borne children know how exhausting the experience can be" (Reynolds). I completely agree, this is simply an interesting idea and if you are pregnant and looking into safe ways to exercise, apparently swimming is ideal.
Lets end this week's post with a funny video, "The Secret to Being A Perfect Mom". There are many social and cultural pressures on women, especially when it comes to motherhood. The reality is that every family is different and nothing is perfect. This video, produced by The Breakwomb, makes light of the pressure to be a "super mom" with a comedy sketch. Hopefully gives you a laugh, my favorite part is the "artisanal sand"!
*All of these links are meant to inform, create dialogue and provide a variety of perspectives. Birth occurs in many places, through many different paths and what is most important is that informed decisions are exercised, a birthing woman is supported and the experience is empowering.