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June 07, 2007


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I took 11 weeks off. 2 weeks before baby girl was born and 9 weeks after. The hubby took off two weeks. I don't feel 6 weeks is long enough for mommies. Thankfully, I am in a position, both at home and at work, to only work 2 days a week. It's like having the best of both worlds. Could you go part-time?
Let me just say, commenting on blogs with one hand (cause I'm holding baby girl) is a little challenging

This whole post just made me cry because I remember feeling exactly what you are feeling. With both of my sweet baby girls, I was only able to take 6 weeks off AFTER they were born (the bedrest required before their births doesn't count). Legally, I could've taken 12 of course, but we just couldn't afford it. I was lucky enough to work for a company that paid 60% of my salary for maternity leave, though. As far as what I think when other co-workers leave for maternity time? I think of how fortunate I was to be able to spend those precious first weeks with my baby and I pray that that mew mommy will absorb every minute of them like I did because they go by way too fast.

I wanted to take the full 12 weeks, but we ran out of money around Week 10 and I had to go back to work. My husband was finishing a PhD program at the time and was able to stay home with the baby most days while I worked. We made use of our church's Mother's Morning Out program for a few weeks, too, while Alex worked on his thesis. I've been home with our daughter since he finished the program.

Do you read Sweet Juniper? It's written by a stay-at-home dad (and his wife, sometimes). He wrote a lovely piece this week on being a SAHD.

I can't imagine going back to work 3 weeks after giving birth. When I have kids, I plan on taking as much time as I can possibly afford to. 12 weeks sounds like a short time to me... but then again, I have trouble working two 5-day weeks in a row.

I took twelve weeks off, but only nine of those were after Alliclaus was born (I was put on bedrest prior to her birth). I really didn't ever want to go back to work (and am lucky that I only have to work part-time). People were a bit irritated that I was taking the full twelve weeks, but I decided that I didn't give two shits. 'Cause I'm kind like that.

With my first baby, dh and I were both in school. I was working part time, and baby was born during Fall semester, on Thanksgiving (~4 weeks of school left). I finished all my classes except one early. 1 week after the birth I went back to that class (3x/week for 1 hour). I did not work though. I took finals, and then we had a few weeks off for Christmas break. The baby was about 6 weeks old when Winter semester started full-force (me and dh both going to school FT and working PT).

I wasn't working when Baby #2 was born. We had moved 4 weeks before the baby came for dh to start a new job. The job didn't work out, and I finally broke down and started looking for work when the baby was about 10-12 weeks old. I started working FT when he was 14 weeks old.

I'm working FT and 30 weeks pregnant. I thought that there was no way I'd be working after this baby came. But dh is having trouble at work again, and there is a very real possibility that I will go back to work. At this point, we can't even pay our bills. Unless dh's job picks up a LOT in the next 10 weeks, I won't even be able to afford a day off, much less 6 or 12 weeks. Who knows what we'll do?

Just for the heck of it a few months ago, I asked my HR person what the company's maternity leave policy was. She said they don't have one, because in the FIFTY-YEAR HISTORY of the company, no one has ever taken maternity leave. Yes, I live in the most conservative county in Utah, where most moms stay home. Several moms work here, so I guess they came along after they'd had their babies or something.

I took every last second of my leave.

AND I wasn't covered by FMLA because I hadn't been with my employer for a full year. But they gave me a nice package, and paid me for the 8 weeks of disability. Actually, THEY didn't pay me, I paid me. That's the way disability works.

However, and I don't mean to be a noodge and project my own FMLA/job protection issues on you, but I would VERY STRONGLY recommend that you get the terms of your leave in writing. Every detail, date you begin your leave, date you'll return, at what level you'll return to (full time, part time, per diem, etc...). It's a sad, sad state of affairs and I wish I didn't know so many women who, ultimately, were forced out of jobs because they had babies.

I love that your office is supportive, that really helps decrease your stress level. And that they may be willing to accomodate a telecommuting situation? Or did I just pretend I read that?

Also? I LOVE that Luke will be a SAHD. I think that is just SO, SO wonderful.

I have always 'made' the money in our family, so when i got pregnant, it was assumed and discovered after looking at our budget, that J would stay home. I would take my full leave, but he would be a SAHD... about a month before my DS was born, he broke down and told his work about our plans.. they were not happy and said "what can we do to make you stay".. he said 20K more a year at least... 1 week later, they said "Ok, here it is"... we are tight with our very very strict budget, but he has given me the greatest opportunity to be a SAHM!.. and I love it.

This is why I quit my first job, 3 months after starting it: I was told I could have 8 weeks off, that's what I wanted, but NO! If you haven't worked there a year, the FMLA laws, for some reason, do not apply to you. So I quit 2 weeks before I was supposed to come back.
With my second, I took 10 weeks off. I had worked there over a year, but at that company, FMLA law was the law, so even if I had just started, I could take as much time as I wanted (up to those 12 weeks, of course). That was a nice amount of time and enough to feel like you weren't leaving a newborn with someone (even though it's your husband).
Now, with the third. I will get six weeks (it hasn't been a year yet for me to get the 12 weeks at this place), unless I have a c-section, in which case, they will let you have 8.
I understand not wanting to take all that time off, but yet, it's your BABY we're talking about here! There seems to be a lot a guilt maybe about leaving all those people with your work to do that makes most people return to work very soon after a birth. Is it the company, the managers, society? I don't know. I had it. I'm over it now, but it totally sucks that you can't get paid (save that vacation time they make you use up while you're out so you can't take a real vacation. jerks).
How else do these CEOs think they're going to get new employees down the road?

Good luck with all things financial. How smart of you to make arrangements for FMLA early on. You take those 12 weeks because you deserve them!!

I saw an episode of Oprah about what it's like to be a woman in other countries. There is a European country that is very supportive of the family. They get one year paid leave after having a baby and then they are allowed to bring their children to work x number of times a year. They also breastfeed anywhere and everywhere and it isn't shunned at all. It sounds wonderful. Now, if only I could remember which country it is.... hmmmm....

I took 9 weeks "fully off" and negotiated with my employer to take the remaining 3 weeks of FMLA leave at a reduced schedule over the next 6 or 8 weeks.

Like Lizarita and maybe others, I was partially paid by short term disability insurance for 8 weeks. (8 cuz I had a c-section; woulda been 6 if I'd had a regular uncomplicated birth.)

Insurance makes you wait a week, so I was paid disability for weeks 2-8, but my employer was nice and paid the first week themselves.

In the 2+ years I've been at my job, only one woman here has had a baby. She planned to take 6 weeks maternity leave, but ended up coming back even sooner than that because she needed the money. Everybody was of course happy to see her and hear all about the baby when she came back, but I also felt like it sucked that she had to come back so soon. There was no bitterness around here about covering for her work load, by the way, but then again she happened to have her baby during our slow season, so there wasn't much work to do anyway.

My hope is that I can build up my freelance business enough that by the time we have kids we'll be able to afford for me to quit my day job and work from home part time.

I love that Luke wants to be a stay-at-home-dad. My husband would do the same thing if it turned out to be the best situation for us. Aren't husbands the greatest?

I was working as a nanny and my husband works as a "computer guy." He makes decent money, but when you have a house and a baby and a social life, it's not a ton. I was planning to have about four months off from my nanny job and then going back to work in the fall with the baby. However, once I tasted life as a stay at home mom, I knew I could never share my time with my baby, with anyone else's child. If that makes sense. I will be staying home with her, which is what I have always wanted to do and just didn't think was possible. Yes, money will be very tight. I will probably work part-time one or two evenings a week or a Saturday here and there beginning in the next few months. And I am already doing a little bit of marketing consulting work to supplement his income. We'll see how it goes. But we are also lucky that my parents love to help out by buying us baby stuff here and there, and tons of diapers, and have us over for dinner and send us home with leftovers :)

Have you checked with your employer to see if you can take vacation/sick time during your leave so that at least some of it is paid? My company lets you do that and you accrue leave when you're on leave as well. It works out pretty well, and most people get to have at least half of their leave paid for.

In the school district I taught for when I was pregnant with KJ, I was offered a morning Kindergarten position that I actually considered for a bit (then realizing that I'd come away with half pay plus the cost of daycare, and break even, I quickly declined).

Had I taken the job for that following school year, I would have been allowed up to twelve weeks unpaid, but could first use my eight sick days for pay. (Nevermind the rest of the schoolyear should my baby or I get sick.) There was a teacher that year who was just a bit further along than I, and I remember her being so sad that she could only take THREE WEEKS because she and her teacher husband couldn't afford any more. I'm sorry - do stitches even heal that fast? I still feel bad for her every time I think about it.

I think the maternity/paternity leave in this country is about as bass ackwards as it can possibly be. For all the shouting we do about family values, the support for working parents (and their kids) is just not there.

I'm so happy for you that you can take that time with Freke. I plan to steal some of that time, too. We'll introduce him/her to the world of Hot Wheels and airplanes, and maybe a few mild football tackles if you don't mind.

Huh. How bout that. I wasn't even aware you could take off as much as 12 weeks. In the military you get 6 weeks and then it's back to work. Of course, it's all paid leave, so that probably has something to do with it. Anyway, good for you for standing by your rights, good for your employer for being so supportive, and good for Luke for taking on such huge responsibility. You all pretty much rock!

Ok here's my story.
My due date was March 29. On January 2 I was put on bed rest with pregnancy induced high blood pressure. On March 21 I went in for my 38 week check up. The doc found my fluid was low and I had to be induced right away. On March 23 Ebaby was born.

I was paid disability from Jan 2 - March 23.

I had told my employer I was taking the full 12 weeks allowed by FMLA. They had no problem with that. I told them because they had no maternity leave policy.

I had a really great sitter lined up and was getting ready to go back to work. And I just couldn't do it. My post partum was really kickin by this time. The Big Guy and & talked about it and concluded we would figure something out. (At the time he had not hit the point in his contract where he would make a good wage. We lived off of his $14 an hour/60 hour week. But that's another story.)

Three days before I was supposed to go back to work I hauled Ebaby to my job and cried (so not me) to my boss that I just couldn't leave her, so sory for the last minute notice.

A year later they called and asked me to come back. No.

They keep calling and finally make me the proverbial offer I can't refuse. I went back to work part time when Ebaby was 21 months old.

I got really lucky.

Oh yeah- I was only paid six weeks disability after she was born. I took the other six unpaid.

I am a speech pathologist in the school system. My first daughter was born in the middle of July, and I started back to work on the first day of school. So, roughly, I had five weeks home with her, although I only went back half-days for the first two weeks of school. Could I have taken more time? Yes. However, I knew it was going to be torture going back to work whenever I decided to do it, whether she be five weeks, or five months, or five years. For me, I knew that school was starting up again and I wanted to get into our "regular" routine.

My second daughter was born in April. I took off the last six weeks of school and then was home with her (and my oldest) all summer. So Elaina was four months old before I went back to work. We couldn't have time that one better!

I am blessed in that my husband gets three weeks paid paternity leave. And with both pregnancies he took his two weeks vacation right after that, so he was home with us for FIVE weeks! This was extra wonderful seeing as how I had c-sections with both girls. Having the three (and then four) of us home together during those five weeks was absolutely wonderful. I only wish every new mom had that luxury.

My husband works second shift, so he takes care of the girls from 8-1. They're at daycare from 1-4, and then I pick them up from there. It's sometimes rough because my husband and I don't get to see a lot of each other, but for us it's totally worth it. To have two parents working full-time but their children in daycare less than 3 hours a day? It's great.

My advice is to take all the time you can. Your little one will change so much in that twelve weeks it will make your head spin (and sometimes not in a good way). And when you do decide to go back, it's okay to cry all day long if you want too. I did. =)

It's funny because unlike what you mentioned, almost everyone I know and have worked with take the full 12 weeks. Like other commenters have metioned, did you look into the disabilty option? Also like other commenters, I know that I will have the option to use any sick time or vacation time if I want to cover what isn't paid via disabilty. I also have to give you major credit for being so excited and supportive of Luke staying home. While I love Jay with all my heart and know he'll be an awesome dad (and would totally stay home if he made less than I do), I don't think I could do it. It shocks me that I felt so strongly after reading this post about how it would probably cause such tension in our marriage if he was the one to stay home and raise our child all day while I went off to work. I don't know why, maybe I'm too selfish? or stubborn? But I know that I would grow to resent Jay for being able to stay home and be "primary" caregiver for those 40 hours a week and forging that certain bond that children form with a stay at home parent. Again, I applaud you for not be so "selfish" as I feel right now!

My employer doesn't pay a red cent during maternity leave. Three months unpaid, because that's what the law requires. But I wouldn't get the stink-eye from anyone for taking the full three months, because I have a wonderful boss.

One of the reasons I was so eager to leave my previous job was because I was told by the HR manager that they could "legally separate" from me while I took time off to have a baby (not that I am or was pg at the time, I was just asking) and if it was beneficial to the company, they'd "probably" have me back if I decided to come back to work.

He then proceeded to tell me some BS story about a friend of a friend of a friend whose wife had a baby on a Friday and was back at work the following Monday.

My current company doesn't offer anything beyond FMLA, which means if I get pg here, I won't be paid a cent for the time I take off to recuperate from birth and care for the baby. Sigh.

I never thought about the injustice of maternity leave until I got pregnant, which is why there isn't any attention given to it. If we wait until we're pregnant to get pissed about it, we're in no position to go find a better offer. Which pissed me off even more (http://volubility.vox.com/library/post/maternity-leave.html).

I took 12 weeks FMLA leave without pay and it decimated our savings. But I knew it was my only/last chance to spend that alone time with Evan and I don't regret it at all. Plus I never considered how long it actually takes to recover from childbirth...I guess I thought once you left the hospital you were fine. Um, no. I find most of my mommy friends were so tired/exasperated at 6 weeks post partum they were ready to go back to work, but they stayed out until 12 weeks which made it harder to send baby to daycare. (I don't know how to put that delicately...maternity leave is fulfilling although boring, and I have to say that most of us wouldn't have been sorry to see a babysitter at 6 weeks, but those second six weeks were good bonding and you kind of get your sea legs.) I do know that we don't have enough in savings, nor could we build enough in time, for me to do that with baby #2 if/when he/she comes.

I feel truly blessed to work for an employer who allowed me to take 14 weeks off after Ethan was born (which, by the way, was two years ago today - happy birthday E!). Because I had a c-section, I was paid for 8 weeks. Two weeks were a combination of vacation and sick time (also paid). The remaining four weeks were unpaid.

I was torn - on one hand, I never envisioned myself as a mom, let alone a SAHM so I was ready to go back to work after just a few weeks. In fact, I checked email everyday just to keep in touch with what was happening in the office. On the other hand, once I had that little baby in my arms and had 14 weeks to bond, leaving him in daycare was WAY harder than I ever imagined. Daycare did get easier with time, but there are still times when I wonder what he's doing, what new "tricks" he's learning, what new words he's using - all without me. I'm reassured knowing that Ethan is in the best daycare in the area, and he really seems to enjoy it.

I didn't allow Mike to take off more than a few days after Ethan was born. I think I'm in the minority of moms here, but I didn't think he belonged in the delivery room (hell, I didn't want to be there!) and if he wasn't willing to lactate, he didn't belong at home with me and Ethan. Totally my opinion, and I know most women don't feel that way.

Maternity leave in this country does suck - we pale in comparison to other countries - yet we are SO superior *snarks*. I took 12 weeks - all paid by short term disability. I cried everyday for a month on my way to work. I really think there should be more support for mothers, after all our job affects the future.

A little bit late, but here's my story. With my first, I left work the day she was born fully intending to come back after 6 weeks. I received no pay the entire time either (small company that FMLA also doesn't apply to). After looking at the income I had and the cost of childcare, we determined that I would be working to pay for childcare and that's it. So, I quit my job (it was a crappy job anyway). After 2 months or so, I started working part time at night for the IRS. So I got to stay home and still pulled in a small income. I went back to work full time after my ex and I separated when Kaylie was about 16 months old.

With Alyssa, I went back after 8 weeks. Hardest thing I have ever done! We just could not afford to live on one income. We looked at it and it's just not feasible, besides, I have a wonderful job with unlimited opportunities. Not only is the job great, but my boss has got to be one of the best people to work for. Once again, small company, so FMLA did not apply. My boss told me that he would pay me for 3 weeks and I could use vacation time for the other 3 and still get paid. He did not have to do this for me, but he did. Not only that, but after I had been back for only 3 months, I went to him and let him know the strain that having another child was putting on our finances and he gave me the largest raise I have ever had. $8,000 per year more!

But, if I could stay home, I still would. I wish I could be more involved in Kaylie's school parties and such, but for now, this is how it is.

I took off six weeks with both. And it wasn't nearly long enough. But not a penny of my maternity leave was paid for so I had to return after the 6 weeks.
To keep from getting emotional, I'll stop at that and just leave you with the facts.
Maternity leave does suck. I'm in awe of hearing stories from blogs in Canada.
Good for you for being able to take the 12 weeks! And yes, you can take all 12 of those weeks and don't you dare feel bad about it for one second because there isn't a thing they can do.

Good for you Frema. You have to do what you want and what you feel is best for your little family.

Maternity leave in this county is a joke. And it does take becoming pregnant to realize this. Would it kill us as a nation to be more supportive of family? I about died with our German friends told us about the one year PAID leave. Not to mention the length of time they are able to stay in the hospital after the baby is born. On this topic, America sucks.

As I've told you before, I have a friend who works and her husband stays home with their 2 kids. It works out so well for them. I'm sure it will for you guys as well.

I too remember Amalah taking the 12 weeks off when Noah was born and thinking that was awesome. And wishing and dreaming that I would be able to do that at some point.

You want my story? Here you go:

My work pays 80% for 8 weeks. But it was really only 7 weeks. I never figured that one out. So Ken only wanted me to take the 8 weeks. Even though I could get the 12 FMLA weeks. I was very upset with him, but could never convince him to let me. Something about it "not being fair to him" since he would be working. (Even though we had plenty of saving to cover those last few weeks.) (still pissed about that? Yeah.)

We couldn't get into a daycare right away, so I ended up having to take 9 weeks of and not just 8 weeks. It was awesome and my last week was spent with my parents and sister in town.

Ken also got FMLA, so he took a month off. (I think.) But spent that ENTIRE time working full time at the new house. I thought that was lame, as it was his only chance to hang out with his family. (Can you tell how freakin' upset I am about the damn house this week? Yeah, I hate it.)

So what am I saying? Take whatever you can get.

(and as always, I agree with what Erika said. It's a little boring. But looking back, you're going to be so thankful for that time.)

Thanks, as always for sharing your thoughts. It is so appreciated.


Here's some assvice. As hard as it was, I worked until Babboo was born. I dragged my fat ass to work when I was a week overdue. But I'm so glad I did. It gave me more time at home once he was born.

Just something to think about.

Here I am a date late.

1st baby. Company too small to qualify for FMLA leave. I knew I was going to have 6 weeks of disability (60% pay). I saved up vacation/sick leave so I could take 6 weeks after that (full pay). My bitch of a boss tells me, come back after 6 weeks or you are fired. I waited 6 weeks postpartum and quit. On a sticky note. Yeah me! When my son was 3 months old I found another job and went back to work.

2nd baby. No disability. Couldn't afford unpaid leave. Agreed to work at home for 6 weeks. when she was 2 weeks old I took her to my home child care provider for 2 days a week just so I could get work done. Back to work full time 6 weeks.

Warning - both babies, I had to leave work a full month prior to giving birth due to swelling/bed rest. Keep that in mind when you plan.

Even if I wanted to use my vacation/sick days after the baby comes, I can't - I've already blown them all! As of right now, I have 0.03 hours of sick/vacation left :-) I've wasted plenty of time just by slacking off, and as of now, I've been sick 3 days this year, and my kids have been sick 10 additional days! If I don't use another hour until the baby comes, I will have about 24 hours to use for maternity leave. Yippee.

I'm sure I'm going to be the only non-real-mommy posting, but I have had FMLA for other medical reasons, and I think it's a wonderful thing, but it's not nearly enough for mothers. I think our country should follow other countries in the one year paid FMLA. I think it's crummy that you have to go back to work after your baby is born.

My boyfriend jokes all the time that since I'm the one in college, when we have kids someday that he'll be the one who stays home with the kids. I know he jokes, because I'm going to be a teacher. There's no way we could make it on my income alone. But I am very happy that when I do have a family, my work won't conflict with my kids. And I'll have summers off with them.

Congratulations on being able to take the full 12 weeks! If only it were longer!

I just had to pipe in here even though I've never commented on your [wonderful, funny, superduper cool] blog before.

I have been SO blessed to have been able to stay at home my entire motherhood career. I have provided in-home childhood for let's see...20+ kids over the course of 12 years. (Which is the only reason I have been able to stay at home.) I have had little ones in my care as young as 3 weeks old and let me say, as a momma, I can't fathom having to do that. I've witnessed my fair share of tears - from mommas -the kids seemed to adjust fine. Good for you for taking every available moment that you feel you, yourelf need and that your family needs.

Just coming back to mention that there is a difference between FMLA leave and paid leave. FMLA leave is job protection, governed by federal law. Paid maternity leave is something that's up to your employer. However, we all pay in to disability and--check your details--but typically, the rule is 8 weeks paid at full rate for delivery via C-section and 6 weeks paid for a vaginal delivery.
All of this, of course, is stuff I learned WHEN I WAS PREGNANT. I thought that FMLA meant I'd be paid and have my job back--but "maternity leave" as a whole is made of so many parts: vacation/sick time, disability leave (don't even get me started about childbirth being a 'disability'), and job protection.
Anyhoo: ditto Erica and Isabel.

This post and the comments are really interesting...

Just thought I'd say "hi."

As a mom to be with due date of December 3, I can relate to how you're feeling. As a Canadian working in health care (i.e. public sector employment) I know how lucky I am to receive Employment Insurances (EI) for a full 52 weeks, plus a top up to 85% of my salary for 27 weeks of that time. This is what we Canadians pay those damn high taxes for, and finally after 15 years in the taxpaying world I will be collecting. Seriously it's close to half my paycheque in income taxes, but it's suddenly so worth it. If you ever need a sponsor to move to Canada let me know! You could be pregnant with my preggo friends and I! Take care ... 15 weeks pregnant and I haven't blogged about it once or told everyone yet - I totally admire your courage and your amazing writing style!

I've gotta get in on what this glickers person is talking about, because from what I understand, I am allowed to take off 12 months (and my mat leave can start anytime after 7 months), but I only get 55% of my income (they average how much you've made for the last 600 hours). I thought THAT was a decent deal, in comparison to what you Americans are offered, but dude, if she's speaking the truth, I need to find out what 1-800 number to call!

My work gives no paid leave. Most don't, I think.

But they SHOULD. Canada is so on the right track.

Late to the convo, but, I'm getting ready to start my leave tomorrow. Since the delivery will be by c-section, I get 8 weeks paid maternity leave. Lucky for me, my company also just started offering 2 weeks paid parental leave, so I'm definitely taking advantage. On top of all that, I've decided to dip into my vacation time a couple of weeks to get a full 12 weeks paid time off.

I, too, felt scared that I was going to "get in trouble" for asking for my maternity leave. Hell, I felt that way just telling my boss I was knocked up, even though they HAD to know it was coming eventually. I put it off until the last couple of months, but in reality, it was no big deal. HR was extremely great about it and sent me tons of info about my rights.

Congrats on your new addition and I hope everything works out just like you plan!

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