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Non-pregnant women getting maternity leave

(32 Posts)
sophiegall123 Wed 04-May-16 09:28:42

Just saw this article this morning - metro.co.uk/2016/05/02/author-argues-women-without-kids-should-get-maternity-leave-too-5853651/ -

Do you think that all women should be entitled to maternity leave breaks without even being pregnant...? I'm really not convinced..

KnitsBakesAndReads Wed 04-May-16 09:41:59

Sounds bizarre. I'm all in favour of employers giving people the opportunity to take a period of leave to focus on their life outside work if they want it, but that's not really comparable to maternity leave.

Also, I kind of object to the idea that maternity leave gives women 'me time'. My experience of it so far is that caring for a newborn leaves very little opportunity for 'me time'. I'm not complaining, it's lovely to be able to stay home and care for my little one and I'm very grateful to be able to do. But although it's an amazing experience it is also pretty hard work and doesn't leave you an awful lot of free time.

malvinandhobbes Wed 04-May-16 09:43:25

Human babies are born well before they are ready to look after themselves in any way at all.

If that author ever has a baby, and spends 6-12 weeks (American mat leave) helping a new human adjust to the world, figuring out breastfeeding, healing her body after pregnancy and birth while being flooded with hormones, and not sleeping more than 2 hours at a time, she will feel like an ass. A huge ass. Maternity leave (especially in USA) is not me time,

She is a foolish and silly woman and everyone should stop paying attention.

EustachianTube Wed 04-May-16 09:43:56

Isn't that a career break then? My DH had one pre-kids and I'm pretty sure he didn't have to give birth in order to take it.

Pootles2010 Wed 04-May-16 09:45:29

I think she's got herself some good publicity. Yes sabbaticals are great, more places should offer them, but that is nothing like mat leave.

ThisWasCrownjewel Wed 04-May-16 09:46:56

I haven't read the article yet OP but would echo that there's no such thing as "me time" on maternity leave. I have a 19mth old and a 7wk old, am due back at work (FT) in 4wks time and if I'm honest I'm looking forward to going back to work for a bit of "me time"!

SmallBee Wed 04-May-16 09:48:09

My company offers a years sabbatical to every employee that they can take once every five years. Isn't that what she's after?or is it that she wants to be paid while she swans around doing whatever she fancies?

Either way, maternity leave is the wrong thing to be after. I had loads more me time as a full time employee with no kids.

Fourormore Wed 04-May-16 09:49:16

If someone offered me "me time" where I was being woken up every 45-90 minutes for 9 months, I'd rather just work to be honest.

BoffinMum Wed 04-May-16 09:50:02

I think they have fundamentally misunderstood the impact of childbirth on the human body, and the physical and psychological risk involved to some women of rushing back to jobs where they may not have a lot of autonomy and may be required to do pretty physical or demanding work (it is much easier if you are the boss or run your own enterprise/projects and get more of a say in how you plan your time and effort). It also underestimates the sheer effort involved in caring for the very young, and the lack of sleep.

It's actually pretty insulting and devalues the contribution to the human species made by people who are procreating on behalf of everyone else. And makes babies look like a designer lifestyle accessory rather than accepting this is about as fundamental to the human condition as you can get.

Much better to make arrangements for everyone to be able to have sabbaticals, if we can afford that as a nation, and this incidentally should include people who have given birth otherwise they will be deprived of reflection and personal development time simply on the grounds that they gave birth - pretty sexist when you think about it.

BoffinMum Wed 04-May-16 09:51:13

(Do they realise it's hard to find time even to have a shower?!!!)

sophiegall123 Wed 04-May-16 11:09:47

This is the first time I've posted to mumsnet so thanks for such a great dicsussion guys!! Great community grin

sepa Wed 04-May-16 15:05:58

She is an idiot to say about getting maternity leave. It makes it sound like we are sat round doing bugger all except spending our time thinking about what to do next!

My baby is an easy baby compared to most but you have to feed them, clean them, watch for sickness. Bath them and keep them entertained all day whilst awake. When they are asleep (if your lucky to have a baby who sleeps away from your arms) then you have housework to get on with and a constant stream of new BFFs (because you have something cute to look at) all the while crying because of hormones and recovering from the birth. If your lucky You have a straight forward birth and you recover quickly. If you have a complicated birth you are still recovering (both phisically and emotionally) for a few months post birth! and breath

DaisyAdair Wed 04-May-16 15:15:56

Well said BoffinMum, excellent post.

butterflylove16 Wed 04-May-16 15:29:07

My bil is having a sabbatical later this year (4-5 months) to do some travelling & I imagine to truly focus on himself. This is what this lady is talking about, not maternity leave. To compare it to maternity leave is pretty insulting.

VimFuego101 Wed 04-May-16 15:30:30

What she is looking for already exists and is called a sabbatical.

The ridiculous thing is that she's in America where maternity leave barely exists. You are considered unable to work for a few weeks as you've just given birth, but you're unlikely to get paid unless your company offers short term disability insurance. Most women work until their waters break and then return 6-12 weeks after giving birth.

BowChickaBowWow Wed 04-May-16 15:31:58

When will people realise that maternity leave isn't a holiday?! Yes, I had a lovely time, for the most part, whilst I was off after having my DS, but it's because I bloody deserved (and made sure that I had) a nice time as I had grown and birthed a (not very small in my case!) person! That takes it out of you. I was shocked how long it took for me to feel human again, it was months, rather than weeks as I'd assumed/hoped. Looking after a needy baby all day is exhausting too. My 'me time' during the 9 months off work consisted of an hour or so here and there when he napped and I had chance to drink a coffee whilst still hot. My 'personal goals' consisted of eating a meal that wasn't a microwave ready meal, and being able to eat it with 2 hands!

If people want sabbaticals from work, go for it, but do not equate it to ML!

MyLocal Wed 04-May-16 15:35:35

If it meant I could palm my DS on her for 6 months following birth, she could have had my maternity leave willingly, even decades later I recall the exhaustion and delight at returning to work which was less tiring.

He was a very hard baby.

29redshoes Wed 04-May-16 15:37:07

I guess she wanted the publicity, and it's worked! It is very insulting to paint maternity leave as "me time".

I do agree it would be good if it were easier for everyone, men and women, to be able to take sabbaticals/career breaks though.

holidaysarenice Wed 04-May-16 15:37:54

I think it should be two paid breaks of nine months for all. Use them for holiday or maternity but once used that is it.

Much fairer.

Fourormore Wed 04-May-16 15:40:36

What happens when a woman falls pregnant for a third time, holidays?

YorkieDorkie Wed 04-May-16 15:44:06

No, it is not your employers or the governments job to fund your "me time".

QueenLaBeefah Wed 04-May-16 15:52:55

I think (unpaid) sabbaticals are a great idea and I wish more companies would allow it

I also wish there was some type of carers leave (preferably paid) as we have an increasingly aging populations.

I found maternity leave very hard work and lonely. Also the money was derisory.

Strokethefurrywall Wed 04-May-16 21:54:59

This was my favourite response to her article - absolutely spot on.

www.huffingtonpost.ca/elizabeth-bromstein/maternity-leave-without-kids_b_9811462.html

WellErrr Wed 04-May-16 22:02:39

She sounds like a misogynistic fool.

AlexandraEiffel Wed 04-May-16 22:06:48

Stroke - I was going to post that too grin

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