Strong, Liberated Women Don't Need Paid Maternity Leave

officeProcreating in the United States is a right, but paid maternity leave is not. That is, if you want a baby, by golly, you can have a baby. You don’t have to pass any tests, you don’t have to be married, heck, you don’t even have to get pregnant thanks to surrogates or good old-fashioned adoption. Want to be a parent? Awesome. Go do that.

But it’s not your right to ask other people to support you while you fulfill your baby dreams.

There. Now that we have the tough love portion out of the way, let’s talk about why a federal law requiring paid maternity or paternity leave is a bad idea for the United States: Because we’re different.


America is nation founded on personal responsibility and self-sufficiency. It takes nine months to make a baby, surely that’s enough time to save some dough to take time off when the little one arrives. Thanks to the Family and Medical Leave Act, if your company has 50 or more employees, your employer has to hold your job for you for twelve weeks.

Moms that work for smaller companies shouldn’t despair; employers put a lot of training into you, and if you work hard and are good at your job, they’ll be happy to welcome you back after a few months of baby-bonding. Many companies nowadays even offer flexible schedules that include some work-at-home time.

More from The Stir: American Women Deserve Paid Maternity Leave

Sure, other nations have laws requiring paid maternity leave. Jody Heymann, author of Raising the Global Floor: Dismantling the Myth That We Can’t Afford Good Working Conditions for Everyone, points out that, “The U.S. is the only high-income nation not to have paid maternity leave, while almost all middle- and low-income countries offer it, too.”

Time to put two and two together, sweetheart. Why do you think it is that the United States is a high-income nation? Because employers get to pay their employees the money they’re not paying to others to take time off. The more businesses have to shell out for paid leave, taxes, etc., the less they can pay the people actually producing work for them. When you make doing business cost-prohibitive, people will stop doing business.

I thought we were supposed to be strong, liberated women. Now we’re demanding that other people take care of us? What’s that about? Motherhood is a wonderful, beautiful, certainly strange thing, and the decision to take it on is monumental -- but it’s unfair to ask others to pay for your life choices.


Image via ilamont/Flickr

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