In 2018, Brittany had a miscarriage. When she found out she was pregnant with a boy a year later, she was thrilled and surprised. Brittany and her husband Dan decided to name their son Damon. He was their “rainbow baby.”
Brittany’s pregnancy, however, was not all rainbows and butterflies. Four months in, Brittany was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction and was in pain all the time. Some days were so bad that she could not walk and had to miss work.
At the time, Brittany was working at a bank. They did not offer paid leave. All she had were a handful of sick and vacation days, which she used in the months leading up to her due date for doctors’ appointments. This meant that when Damon was born, Brittany would have no paid time off to take care of him. And she could not afford to go six weeks without pay. On top of bills and a new baby, Brittany and Dan also have two young daughters, Aubrey and Kayleigh. Dan is a technician, and his income is spotty. So, the family really depended on Brittany.
“My income was the money we could count on. It was: find a new job or we might end up homeless.”
So, seven months into her pregnancy, Brittany found herself job hunting. Luckily, she was able to get a job at the Kansas State Driver’s License Office, where they offered her six weeks of paid leave. But even that wasn’t enough.
Brittany continued to have complications after she gave birth, and when she was finally able to return to work COVID-19 hit. With no childcare in sight, Brittany had to quit that job to take care of Damon. Now she’s a driver for DoorDash. She has more flexibility, but is making less money than before and is constantly worrying about not being able to pay the bills.
Unfortunately, Brittany’s story is not uncommon. A 2020 report by 1,000 Days, Qualitative Paid Leave Report: Furthering Our Case for Paid Leave in the United States, found that nearly 1 in 3 women experience pregnancy issues and 1 in 4 have to stop working earlier than expected because of them. Like Brittany, 60% of women surveyed in the report experienced a job transition (either while pregnant or postpartum). And for the vast majority of women surveyed, financial stress is the main reason for returning to work earlier than they wished.
“Being a parent shouldn’t have to be like this.”