Dear Mr. President,
I worked full time in the emergency department while my husband and I tried for many years to get pregnant. One day the miraculous happened and I got pregnant!
As I continued to work full time up until the birth of our son to be sure to have as much time as possible with him after his birth. For years we had paid for short term disability insurance for this very possible moment. But imagine our dismay to learn that 6 weeks was all we were allowed by the insurance. The first week is not even paid. So really only 5 weeks were covered at less than 2/3 of my pay.
Because of FMLA laws already on the books, I was permitted to take 12 weeks off for our son’s birth. Unfortunately that meant 7 of them would be without earning a penny. All the while our bills racked up. Bills for the birth which totaled over $2,000 on top of the usual expenses my job usually covered like our mortgage, the electric bill and our car payment. These mounting bills weighed heavily on my mind as I tried to enjoy our little miracle. My husband and I decided I should take the entire 12 weeks off time off to help our baby bond and establish breastfeeding despite the loss this would mean for us financially.
I returned to work as soon as those short 12 weeks were up, in debt and in tears at leaving our son in the care of another at such a young age. Babies need their mamas. And mamas need to be able to stay home with them. So many other countries make this happen. Why can’t we?
I hope you will address this in your State of the Union speech. Thanks for all your support for working families.