This article took me four months to write.
I work in policy, in government, in data, in advocacy. I write memos and organize meetings and push policy positions for a living. I care deeply about my work – after all the memos and the arguments and the meetings are over, my fundamental goal is to help advance gender equality. But for the past two years, this blog has been a small step away from my day job – a chance to write in non-bureaucracy, a reason to get creative, even if it’s just creating dinner.
So I ask your forgiveness when I make this small corner of the web a policy platform, just for right now.
I wrote this article over the last four months, in fits and starts, in gratitude and in anger. I’m so thankful for the community around me that supported me unflaggingly when my husband and I became parents. I’m grateful for the time I had at home with my little boy. I’m lucky because that time translated into real economic and health benefits for me, my son, and my family.
The truth is, though, becoming a parent in the United States depends a lot on luck and privilege and financial status. As one of three countries in the world without paid family leave, for everything I had when my son was born, far too many American women and men had not.
In 2016, in the world’s only superpower, this is indefensible.
I greatly appreciate your time in reading this. The more we talk about this, the more data and personal stories we collect, the better our chances at changing this policy.
And I promise, back to food in the next post.
2 thoughts on “Today is November 8th.”
Hi Varina, congratulations on the article – what a powerful story. I can’t imagine having to go through something so difficult, even (as you state) from a position of relative privilege compared to other mothers in the US. I work in research and advocacy for a non-profit service provider. I’m currently working on issues around child protection and domestic violence. Your words have reaffirmed so strongly for me the importance of supporting all members of a family to be healthy and safe if we want to achieve good long-term outcomes for children and for our communities. I found the combination of your story and the statistics you quote quite heartbreaking. It is some solace though, to know that you and your child are both well after such a stressful time. Take care!
Thank you for your thoughtful comment, your sweet message, and the work that you do. Now, more than ever, we need people like you to help protect our most vulnerable.
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