New Mom’s Eye-Opening Comparison of American Maternity Leave

Navigating the joys and challenges of new motherhood, Anna Gantt took to social media to voice her concerns about the U.S. maternity leave policies.

As she strolled with her six-week-old baby, the new mom couldn’t fathom the idea of returning to work so soon after giving birth. With a poignant comparison to animal care regulations in her state, Gantt highlights the irony of the system.

Her heartfelt message, backed by global perspectives on parental leave, calls for a much-needed change.

The Dilemma

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Gantt states,

“You want to know what’s f***** up? American maternity leave.”

She highlights the fact that she’s only six weeks postpartum and can’t imagine returning to work at this stage.

Drawing a comparison, she mentions that in Georgia, where she resides, it’s illegal to separate a puppy or kitten from its mother before eight weeks. Yet, it’s deemed acceptable for a human infant to be left at daycare at just six weeks.

The Emotional & Physical Toll on Mothers

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Gantt acknowledges her privilege and empathizes with mothers who might be grappling with postpartum anxiety or depression.

The challenges of postpartum life, such as being away from the baby and managing tasks like pumping at work, are already daunting. Adding mental health struggles on top of that can be overwhelming. Gantt laments,

“And I can’t imagine being in the position where you must go back to work in order to survive, in order to provide for your family with dual income, or if your partner’s not working and you’re the one that’s responsible, that must be awful.”

A Global Perspective on Maternity Leave

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Contrasting the U.S. with other countries, Gantt points out the stark differences in maternity and paternity leave policies. She shares,

“My friends in other countries are guaranteed six months paid leave, up to a year, two years.

Another added,

“I have a friend who just got two years paid maternity leave — that included six months for her husband so that the parents can, I don’t know, parent.”

This comparison underscores the inadequacy of the U.S. system.

A Call to Action

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Gantt’s message is clear: the U.S. must reevaluate its maternity leave stance. She asserts that the system is deeply flawed and expresses solidarity with mothers forced to return to work before they feel ready.

The U.S. lags behind most developed countries in terms of parental leave.

While many Americans support the idea of paid parental leave, only about half of the working parents receive some form of payment during their leave.

Internationally, the average paid maternity leave is approximately 29 weeks, with countries like Canada, Sweden, and Japan offering more than a year of paid time off for new parents.

The Benefits of Extended Maternity Leave

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In recent years, the topic of maternity leave has garnered significant attention, especially in the United States. A study by NYU Steinhardt’s Natalie Brito[1] in 2022 highlighted the profound developmental consequences of paid maternity leave on infants.

Brito’s research found that infants whose mothers received paid family leave exhibited greater brain activity during their initial three months.

Specifically, infants with heightened activity of higher-frequency brain waves were 7.39 times more likely to have mothers who benefited from paid leave. This groundbreaking study underscores the potential developmental advantages for children when their mothers can spend quality time with them during their formative months.

The findings were published in the article “Paid Maternal Leave is Associated with Infant Brain Function at 3-Months of Age”[2] in Child Development.

The implications of this research are vast, suggesting that not only do parents benefit from extended maternity leave, but the positive impacts on infant brain development are undeniable.

More from Viral Chatter

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Image Credit: Pheelings media/Shutterstock.

In recent times, the dynamics of job hunting have evolved, with many turning to online platforms to find their next opportunity.

One such platform that has been a go-to for many is Indeed. However, recent user experiences suggest that the platform might not be as effective as it once was.

“I’m just not built for a 9-5 no matter what it is”- Woman Ready to Quit New Job After Just 4 Days

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Image Credit: olly18/Deposit Photos.

A recent viral post highlighted a sentiment that many can relate to: the challenges and dissatisfaction of traditional 9-5 jobs.

A woman expressed her desire to leave her new position only four days after starting, sparking a wave of empathy and shared experiences from others.


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Martha A. Lavallie
Martha A. Lavallie
Author & Editor | + posts

Martha is a journalist with close to a decade of experience in uncovering and reporting on the most compelling stories of our time. Passionate about staying ahead of the curve, she specializes in shedding light on trending topics and captivating global narratives. Her insightful articles have garnered acclaim, making her a trusted voice in today's dynamic media landscape.