If you combine the California State Paid Family leave with the Federal Family and Medical Act, you can get a grand total of eighteen weeks (four and a half months) in total when you adopt or have a baby. The U.K., as of February 2010, was discussing thirty-nine weeks paid in part (six weeks at 90 percent of pay and thirty-three weeks at 55 percent of pay) should become twenty weeks paid in full, at a minimum. Spain just passed a law stating that both moms and dads could leave work for an hour during the day in the first nine months to support breastfeeding by recognizing that women need their husbands through this journey. One of the most progressive countries is Bulgaria who gives out one year paid at 100 percent, and this can be taken by the mother, father, or grandparent. It’s difficult to conceive of the fact that we as a country are so far behind in this area, while we lead the world in so many other areas.
At eighteen weeks your baby is still breastfeeding about six times a day, not sleeping through the night (which means you aren’t either), and just barely aware that he has hands and feet. One hundred years ago, there would be no question about the mother being at home twenty-four hours a day to cater to their child’s every whim, and they did so for the most part, not only willingly but lovingly. In the late twentieth century, women gained their right to work on equal terms with men, and today many women choose to return to work after having their baby, or feel that financially they must. But are moms happier today than they were one hundred years ago?