Thursday, July 05, 2007

Maternity leave

Today is my last day in the office for at least three months, maybe four. I had planned to work through Friday, but with labor seeming somewhat imminent, I think it's prudent to wrap things up and head home to stock up on sleep. Besides, it seems I've lost my mind and my productivity has taken a nose dive. Maybe that's my brain pressing down on my pelvis?

I'm really looking forward to this maternity leave. I feel like the timing couldn't be better. I'll get to enjoy my two children and all that Oak Park and the greater Chicago area have to offer in the summertime, and I'll be around for Z's transition into preschool this September. But best of all, I'll get to enjoy the company of two other working moms whose maternity leaves coincide with mine! It's a far cry from my first maternity leave. Z was born just as winter settled in. The neighbors were inside, the parks were empty, and until I attended a new moms group at Parenthesis, I didn't know any other women in my position.

I feel lucky that we can swing a couple of months of unpaid leave. Plenty of women head back to work shortly after giving birth because they can't afford not to. As I've mentioned on this blog before, I hope paid family leave becomes an issue in the upcoming election. As it stands, the U.S. is one of only five countries out of 173 in a McGill University survey that does not guarantee some form of paid maternity leave. The others are Lesotho, Liberia, Swaziland and Papua New Guinea.