“I gave birth to my beautiful daughter but soon after found out she needed extra stay in the NICU. My husband and I were extremely stressed and heartbroken to be discharged from the hospital without Aubrey. At the time, I had no family leave, no benefits, and no financial support from my employer. My husband and I could not afford to be at home to take care of my daughter. I returned to work after a very short 4 weeks of unpaid time off because my family just could not afford for me to take any more unpaid time off. It was such a time of financial hardship; I drained my savings and retirement account to pay for the four weeks I took off without pay. The hospital bill took us two years to pay off.
But for me what was even worse was the strain on our tender bonding time with our daughter. To this day, my biggest regret is that I did not spend enough time with my newborn daughter. It would have been a huge difference if we had paid family and medical leave. I would have had time to nurture my newborn and without worry when I had to take her to all her doctor and lab follow up appointments. And I would have returned to work with a different mindset and ready to work.”