Seems women are hanging on to their work schedules until the last moment before their babies are born, citing the need for the income and the desire to take time off once baby arrives rather than before.
I’ve written before how far behind the US is when it comes to paid paternity and maternity leave. Companies that have fewer than 50 employees are exempt from following the Family Medical Leave Act, which gives mothers and/or fathers twelve weeks off , unpaid, following the birth of their child. According to this article, in France mothers receive six weeks before the birth and ten weeks after and they must take two weeks prior to the due date off.
My sister in law is expecting her second child soon and we asked when she would be leaving for maternity leave. She joked that she would leave when the baby was born, but it wasn’t really a joke: in reality she probably will stay on and work up until the due date, or right before.
Seems eighty percent of women continue to work a month or less before their due dates.
All I can tell you is this: I was placed on bed rest during my first pregnancy. I complained about resting and not being able to do anything to prepare for baby and my mom kept reiterating, “Enjoy it now. Once that baby comes you won’t have a minute to yourself.”
If you are pregnant and working, you may not want to take a lot of time off prior to your new baby coming, and you may not be able to do so financiallly. But if you can find some time for some extra preparation and rest and relaxation, do it. Following the birth, your life will be a whirlwind and you won’t have much time to get anything done.
And for now, begin to request more out of employers who don’t give time off to new mothers and fathers. This is an important time in the lives of working parents, and we need to work together to make sure companies are offering adequate paternity and maternity leaves. If you are happy with your company, and the policies are strong and fair, the chance is more likely that you will return following the birth.