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Is One Hour of Maternity Leave Enough?

By paulabernstein |

Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave?

In these days of iPhones, Twitter, Facebook, and other technological advances, I often gripe that we no longer have the ability to turn off work. This is even true in the delivery room, where some women Tweet as they’re in labor.

Now it seems that a true maternity leave may be a thing of the past as post-partum women jump right back into sending e-mails and networking on Twitter before they even leave the hospital.

Many women “feel guilty about taking time off for a maternity leave because they are career-obsessed and want to get ahead, no matter the cost,” writes Rosemary Black in The New York Daily News.

I take offense at the tone of the article which presents these “career-obessed” women as putting their jobs ahead of their newborns. I can’t imagine a similar article which criticizes new dads for getting right back to work after a new baby. The difficult truth is that in this tough economy when many moms are working from home and freelancing, they often don’t have the ability to take maternity leave.

If they take time off, not only are they jeopardizing their careers, but they will be losing income.

Black’s article features British mom Zoe Brown who e-mailed clients just one hour after her 1-year-old was born. As the founder and managing director of her own business, she said she can’t afford to take time off.

In an ideal world, both mothers and fathers would have paid maternity and paternity leave to spend important bonding time with their new baby. But in the world we live in, that’s not always possible. On the upside: new technology is enabling new parents to get work done at home in between nursing and changing diapers.

I was so bleary-eyed and dazed after giving birth that I can’t imagine getting right back to work. I wanted time to bond with my baby and adjust to being a mom. But if I had no other option, I’m sure I would have figured out a way to get work done in between changing diapers and nursing.

What do you think? Is one hour maternity leave shorting the mother or the baby or both? Could you do it?

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Photo: flickr/jordawesome

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About paulabernstein



Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer and social media manager with a background in entertainment journalism. She is also the co-author of Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited.

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0 thoughts on “Is One Hour of Maternity Leave Enough?

  1. emmavt says:

    I sent emails from the hospital, because I worked right up to labor, didn’t get everything done, and my daughter was asleep and I was awake and did not want to watch TV. I doubt anyone is fully back to work during the first few weeks after the birth of a child.

  2. Mistress_Scorpio says:

    Dear Women:

    Everything you do will be viewed through a lens of being detrimental to your potential or existing family. Get used to it.

    Society At Large

  3. Gretchen Powers says:

    I really think it depends on the woman and her baby. If its something that she wants to do, then fine. Firing off a few emails or even doing some work online doesn’t have to be all that taxing. Some babies just sleep alot at first, others don’t. If the new mom is feeling pressure to do it because she fears damage to her job, then it’s a culture problem at that job.

  4. Kikiriki says:

    Right on, M_S. I think that should be the first comment of every post like this. I’d buy it if it were on a tee shirt.

  5. Scorpio Fan says:

    babble needs a like button. I too will buy that t-shirt

  6. [...] Is One Hour of Maternity Leave Enough? [...]

  7. esterlulady says:

    I own a business as well, I do have a business partner. But there are things that I do that she doesn’t – am I going to let my business that worked hard for (with a 3 year old in tow mind you) fall to the way side? I think it is a stretch to say she took a 1 hour maternity leave, I guess it is a good tag line and I too would like that shirt!

  8. [...] Is One Hour of Maternity Leave Enough? [...]

  9. ANGELA M. says:

    M_S: I absolutely love it!!! If I was a creep I would steal this and post it on Facebook. You are so right. These blogs and posts are always about do THIS and harm your child, don’t do THAT and harm your child. Your family will suffer if you DO/DON’T DO this, etc………………….
    Well stated!

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