“I live in Portland in a household of 4, with my husband and our 2 kids. I work with pregnant and nursing moms, as an on-call employee with no benefits. Working without benefits means that when I had my second child in October 2014, I had no paid leave at all. With great stress and difficulty, we were able to save enough for me to be off work with no pay for close to 8 weeks. But our whole family was impacted by the loss of my income. We had to take my older son out of preschool for six months because we could not afford it. We applied for food stamps, something we had never done before. When we exhausted our savings and ran out of things to cut out of our budget, I had to return to work and leave my newborn.
We very consciously decided to make the financial sacrifice to have that time with our baby. I needed to recover and I am well aware of the importance of bonding with my baby for both of our health and wellbeing. However, we have never recovered from that financial sacrifice. My family lives from paycheck to paycheck. My husband and I have little time together because we have to work opposite schedules. If I had had paid family and medical leave, we would have been able to get off to a stronger start, and would have been able to bond with our baby without so much incredible stress and worry.”