Dear President Obama,
What’s supposed to be one of the happiest moments in a woman’s life can also be one of the scariest. The birth or adoption of a child brings about all kinds of emotions and decisions to be made.
I was a full time college student when I found out Elijah would be born near my Thanksgiving break. I was excited and also terrified. I continued to work at my on-campus jobs and go to classes, in fact, I went into labor on campus after I gave a presentation. After an emergency c-section, Elijah was born on a Tuesday.
We knew Elijah was coming, but we didn’t know what would happen next. I knew I’d be off for a while because of winter break from school, but his father wasn’t so sure about the time he could take from his job of three years at a factory where he rebuilt transmissions. The Monday after we chowed down on Thanksgiving Day food; Elijah’s dad went back to work. He had to work — bills had to be paid. We couldn’t tell our debtors, “Sorry we just had a baby, we’ll pay you in three months.” Not having support in place costs my family a great deal. Not just financially, with one income coming in, but a cost that we probably haven’t even seen yet. As an infant, Elijah never got the opportunity to deeply bond with his dad because his dad was working to provide for us.
I’m writing this letter to urge action on behalf of families like mine. Mr. President, you’re the kind of guy to get things done, in a big way, I’m confident you can do this too. Please support a national national family and medical leave insurance program so that bonds can be formed between parent and child from day one. Encourage state legislators and governors to act as well.
Sir, I don’t need to rattle off statistics. As a father of two beautiful girls, you know how important it is to have a bond with your baby. You know how special it is to have a time to heal, a time to cope and a time not to stress about how to pay the bills after a life event such as the birth or adoption of a child.
President Obama, babies change families in a big way, I’m urging you to act in a big way, push for FMLI laws now.