On this much, I am very clear: when I had my first baby more than 14 years ago, I was blessed to be working at a time when the economy was strong, a good job with benefits could be had, and a decent maternity leave was still possible. Between a year’s worth of vacay and sick days, the federally-mandated 12-week maternity leave and a few more months unpaid maternity leave I coaxed out of HR, I managed to scrape up a full nine months worth of leave with my Mari—time off with my baby that I could afford because the hubs and I had some money saved. I recognized that what I pulled off was huge, even in those prosperous times, particularly for a Black mom. But it’s clear that had I needed maternity leave today, I’d probably be in the same boat with 40 percent of new moms, taking one to four weeks of maternity leave or worse, none at all.
From Today Moms:
About two-thirds of U.S. women are employed during pregnancy and about 70 percent of them report taking some time off, according to most recent figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The average maternity leave in the U.S. is about 10 weeks, but about half of new moms took at least five weeks, with about a quarter taking nine weeks or more, figures showed.
But a closer look shows that 16 percent of new moms took only one to four weeks away from work after the birth of a child — and 33 percent took no formal time off at all, returning to job duty almost immediately. Read more…
by Denene Millner
Yet another “duh”-worthy study on women and pregnancy claims that a majority of new moms wait longer than the six-week doctor-ordered minimum to have sex after giving birth.
Researchers who periodically surveyed 1,507 first-time mothers living in Melbourne, Australia, about their sexual activity within the first year of childbirth found that overall, 41 percent of the moms resumed vaginal sex within six weeks after delivering their baby, 65 percent by eight weeks, 78 percent by 12 weeks and 94 percent by six months. Just over half the women said they engaged in some type of sexual activity by six weeks after childbirth, and those who had Caesarean sections, births assisted by forceps or incisions or tears in the perineum tended to wait longer to have sex, the study found.
Many doctors recommend delaying sex for four to six weeks after childbirth to allow the cervix to close, bleeding to stop and tears to heal, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Researcher Ellie McDonald, of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, said her study provides “useful information for couples to know before their baby is born, and may help reduce feelings of anxiety and guilt about not resuming sexual activity sooner.” Read more…
by Denene Millner
My mother’s “birds and bees” talk began and ended with this simple directive: “Don’t bring no babies home because I’m not trying to take care of any.” She meant that. And I was real clear about it. I was to get a college degree. A career. Love. Marriage. And then babies. In that order. She never said it, but I have no doubts that if I’d have messed up her order of things and come home with a baby in my belly, Bettye would have tried to go out like the parents of the pregnant Texas girl who sued her mom and dad for allegedly trying to force her to have an abortion.
I mean, I can’t be sure that this would have been my mom’s reaction. But it sure didn’t seem far-fetched at the time. Which was more than enough for me to keep my legs closed and my books open. Apparently, that hard-line parental message didn’t really get through in time enough for the pregnant Texas girl, who claimed in a lawsuit that after she revealed she was pregnant, her mother took her phone and car and kept her home from school as punishment for refusing to have an abortion, and even threatened to “slip” her an abortion pill. Dad weighed in, according to the lawsuit, by telling the pregnant teen she “needs an ass whoopin’,” and that he was going to “look into canceling” her health insurance. Their ultimatum for their daughter, now 10 weeks pregnant? “Continue to live in misery” at her mom’s home or “have an abortion and tell everyone it was a miscarriage,” the lawsuit said. Read more…
by Denene Milner
I’m sure for somebody, this is “good” news: A new study out of the UK suggests that pregnant women can consume one to eight alcoholic drinks a week without causing any developmental problems in their children.
Backed by funding from the Centers For Disease Control, Danish researchers studied more than 1600 pregnant women from their first antenatal visit then followed up by looking at the effects of alcohol on the IQ, attention span and self-control of their children at age five. What they found: low to moderate weekly drinking in early pregnancy had no significant effect on the neurodevelopment of the children at age five. There was no difference in IQ test results for kids whose mothers drank one to four drinks per week while pregnant, vs. children of mothers who had five to eight drinks per week while pregnant, vs. moms who abstained altogether, the research found. Read more…
By Denene Millner
Pinkett-Smith, who’s been working hard to fend off criticism of her parenting style, attacks against her precocious pop star daughter, Willow, and vicious rumors about cracks in her marriage to international acting icon Will Smith, says she produced the Red Table Talk series to help foster communication across three generations of her family—passionate, raw chats she’s hoping will help create a stronger relationship between her, her mother and her daughter. The three kick off the chats both by pulling questions they have for one another out of a bowl and bringing “must answer” questions they’ve jotted in their personal journals. Read more…