The Internet is helping new moms take more time off from work after giving birth or adopting a child.
The crowdsourcing network at MyTake12.com helps to financially support new mothers while they take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off work to recover and spend time with their babies.
The founder of the website, Margi Scott, says the goal is to address the country’s lack of paid parental leave.
She notes that the United States in the only industrialized nation not to offer it, and says the idea came to her last year after having twins.
“What I wanted and needed more than anything was to be at home with my babies without feeling that financial stress of unpaid leave,” she states. “And so, I just thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could – instead of a gift registry for stuff that we don’t need – have a place where we could register for what we really do need, which is time to recover and bond?”
The website was retooled about three weeks ago and Scott says it has grown exponentially since then.
It now includes an online resource center for expectant and new moms. About 600 currently have registries on the site.
Scott says the research is clear that not only is leave beneficial for children, it’s often crucial for a new mother’s health. Yet on average, working women are back at work 10 days after giving birth.
“At 10 days postpartum, you’re still at high risk for birth-related complications,” she points out. “So, women are actually putting their health and their own self-care at risk, just to be able to continue to provide for their families.”
Scott hopes one day the website won’t be necessary and that parents have access to the paid leave they need. But she acknowledges it could take a while to get it right.
“Instead of just saying, ‘Oh well, now people have some paid leave,’ we really need to get down to the bottom of what sufficient paid leave looks like for healthier American families,” she states.