Letters: Legislature should pass paid family, medical leave

The Legislature should pass HB 228 – paid family and medical leave.

As a therapist, I see individuals with the most common postpartum complications – depression and anxiety. Insufficient support exacerbates those problems. Parents do much better if their partner can also be home with the newborn.

When I had my first son, I was attending graduate school. My husband could only take two unpaid days off work, so I mostly cared for the newborn alone. It was emotionally taxing to adjust to our new life without enough time together.

Now we’re expecting our second baby, and I don’t expect it to be easy. I work full-time, and only have about ten personal days to use. I’ll take some unpaid leave, but we need my paycheck. My husband was laid off due to the pandemic. After minimal time off with the baby, I will have to return full-time.

It’s unrealistic to expect someone who gave birth weeks ago to be a strong employee while caring for a weeks-old baby, dealing with breastfeeding, and coping with common postpartum mental health challenges.

Our system does a disservice to families who bring new life into communities. The Legislature should establish paid family leave.