Monday, June 23, 2014

When in doubt.. blog it out

Some strange things happening on the Twitters today and frankly, my feelings got hurt when maybe they shouldn't have.. or maybe they should have... I don't know. But it was fairly implied that my specific view on paid medical leave for caretakers (of children or parents) has now changed because I'm pregnant.

This was hurtful to me for a couple reasons

  • The implication that I was discriminating against childless/childfree individuals
  • The implication that I would have had less compassion for those caregivers had I not potentially become one of those

Here's the thing. I've watched friends lose their house because they didn't have enough leave to take care of their DYING daughter. A daughter with Batten Disease who was born without issue who quickly deteriorated before their very eyes. This was not and is not ok. 

I have another friend who is childless because she can't afford treatments for her IF because her mother had a stroke when she was 23 (she's now 36) and she's responsible for her care, both monetarily, physically and emotionally. She hasn't had a "vacation" in years because her "vacation" days are used up by mom's appointments and care. 

I would NEVER begrudge those people for getting more leave than me in order for them to take care of their ailing family members. 

Time off for caregiving is not an extra vacation. This is not a benefit for time spent in paradise. It's taxing work, time that would be gladly given up if their family member would just be well, cured, healthy, living.

The one thing I don't feel like 140 characters can cover is the need for better paid medical leave for all: Let's call this bucket A.

Bucket A covers YOU. This covers sick time for the flu, for the hangover, for the broken leg, for the cancer, for the IVF treatments... YOU! And everyone should be entitled to a much larger " bucket A" than we get in the USA now. 

My concern is a circumstantial bucket B: The emergency, someone needs my help and without time off and a continues paycheck that can't happen, bucket. This is paid time off if the situation arises that you have to be a caregiver for someone else... Be it a spouse, S/O, child, parent, etc. This shouldn't be combined with bucket A. I understand the need for limitations to this bucket, same as Bucket A,  but it should be a different bucket. Because if your mom has a stroke in January and you use up your time and then your appendix bursts in November, you shouldn't have to lose your job, or your car, or your house because you need recovery from surgery. 

And if you never "get" to use Bucket B because you don't have children, or your parents never get sick, or whatever.. you don't complain about someone else getting "more time off" You simply remember they aren't on vacation on a beach in Cabo, send them flowers, wish them and their family well and move on with your job. 

Because compassion for others shouldn't be dependent on you needing that exact same compassion. This is the type of argument that  routinely works against those struggling with infertility when it comes to medical coverage through insurance in the US. 

There are too many people saying "why should I help if I don't need that" and the answer is "because you help when you can, that's humanity" 


  1. I wasn't privy to the twitter conversation, but your ideas sound pretty reasonable to me :) (How do we make it happen?!?!)

  2. I too am a little confused by the Twitter conversation. But I agree with you that everyone should get more paid time off…whether it is for IF treatments or caring for sick parents.