Maternity leave in the United States is abysmal. It's safe to say that the best case -- three months, fully paid -- would be laughable in other countries.
Still, just because something is terrible, it isn't an excuse to lie and cheat your way around it. This is exactly what writer Jen Miller overheard the other day in a restaurant:
Overhead diner conversation: Woman's plans to fake postpartum when her maternity leave's up so she can get disability pay from her employer, Miller tweeted yesterday.
Not because I don't think women deserve better maternity leave, but because this woman is abusing the system in such a way that she will hurt us all.
Postpartum depression is a very real affliction, which affected between 15-20 percent of women after the birth of their children.
It's hard enough to get these issues examined in our culture. People think it's a made-up issue, something women should just "suck up."
And for those women who don't suffer from PPD and do decide to return to work, the return can be harrowing: few places to pump so they have to give up breastfeeding; lack of promotions because they are seen as being on the "mommy track"; no flexibility in the workplace to accommodate sick children and school plays.
When moms take it upon themselves to manipulate the system, they hurt us all. In my last job, I was unable to get the flex-time I wanted because the other mom who had it never actually worked. Her laziness hurt all the moms in the workplace.
We moms have to work together, not against one another. It isn't each man for himself (or herself, in this case). It's all of us together.
Nothing is going to change if most of us play by the rules while a select few cheat the system and hurt us all. Angry about not getting enough maternity leave? Fight together. Don't lie and cheapen everyone's fight.
Do you think this is awful, too?
Image via Facebook.com