Three years ago I delivered a full term bouncing baby boy. He weighed seven pounds and three ounces and everything was fine, with one exception: I had to choose between taking care of my newborn baby and going back to work. Even though my hourly wage was limited to $7.60 a hour at that time, my household relied on my income. So, I had to go back to work only three weeks after giving birth.
Three weeks is an insufficient amount of time to stay home with a newborn. Going back to work so early further strained my body both physically and mentally. My job is physically taxing and my body was in no condition to perform the lifting and pulling required of a Home Health Aide. Also, despite my best efforts, my mind was not completely focused on my client. I was stressed and constantly worried about different components of my baby’s care; like his child care arrangements and feeding schedule. I wasn’t even able to breastfeed my child. I had to pump and he was fed through a bottle due to the fact that I had to go back to work so early in order to pay our bills.
I’m one of the 43 million people without Paid Family Leave Insurance. My experience was heartbreaking, and even though we got through it, no one should have to choose between having a roof overhead and taking care of a newborn child.