Close

Not a member yet?Register now and get started.

lock and key

Sign in to your account.

Account Login

Allison

Allison's story about taking NJ Family Leave Insurance when her daugher was born.

I still remember July 4th, 2015. My daughter, Beatrice, was six weeks old, and I remember that she was barely able to hold up her head. I remember her tiny socks that looked like they were made for a doll, not a person. What I remember most vividly though that 4th of July was thinking: I cannot imagine going back to work right now. But if not for paid family leave, I would have had to.
I'm the sole breadwinner of my family. I’m lucky that my work gives me 6 weeks of paid leave, 6 weeks unpaid – which is far more than the average person gets. And there is no way I could have afforded to take an extra six weeks of leave unpaid -- at least without going into thousands of dollars in credit card debt – which is a stress the parents of a newborn do not need. Those three months were incredibly hard – anyone who thinks family leave is a vacation is in for a surprise when they become a parent. But because of New Jersey paid family leave, the memories of my introductory crash course in becoming a mother built a solid foundation for my relationship with my daughter.

The first six weeks after giving birth are a time of intense physical recovery. By six weeks, you’re just starting to feel a little bit normal. It wasn’t until after those six weeks that I finally felt like I was able to leave the house. If not for those six weeks I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see all of the tiny ways that your baby changes into a whole new person with every new week they’re alive at that stage of their development.

I loved becoming a mom, but I’m also a workaholic. I am known to leave the office well past 5 pm. Sometimes I only see my daughter for a small window of time in the morning, if she’s up by the time I leave. When I first went back to work, I seriously wondered if she’d forget who I was. But of course she remembers. The other day, after the long 4th of July weekend, actually, the first thing my two-year-old daughter told my partner was: mama all gone.

It was really sweet. And I firmly believe that one of the reasons we are so close, even though I'm not home for as long as I'd like to be, is the intimacy of the bonding that began in those first three months. We need to expand family leave.

There is no asset, no natural resource, no source of joy greater than our children. It’s in everyone’s interest to help our children get what they need to grow into healthy, civic-minded, conscientious adults. And what they need – and deserve – is time at the beginning of their lives to build the strongest, most supportive relationships possible with the people who will raise them.