But it is crap that I should have to. How are things still so messed up that my case- taking four months with no salary and only the non binding agreement that I'll have a job afterward- falls in the extremely lucky category of maternity leave.
It sucks that it's like that. I find myself reflexively defensive when people say how lucky I am to have such a long leave. I yammer for second about it being unpaid and a choice/sacrifice that we decided to make for our family. Then my internal voice slaps my face to remind me that not only don't I need to justify our choice but it's a pretty bizarro world we live in where families have a million obstacles it in front of them and that is just status quo ( health insurance tied to work, the outrageous cost of daycare and the problem of undervaluing daycare workers, the poor and inconsistent maternity leave policies).
34 years ago my mom had to leave her 8 week old after a cesarean section because that's when her disability ran out. That's still the same policy and not every state has disability. Plus while policies such as fmla would have been open to her as an employee of a large hospital it still would have left her family without pay and while being without pay is an option for my family now fmla is so limited that it doesn't even apply to me.
We've gone nowhere toward making things work for families and the impact that still has on women is immense yet ignored.
So I get it that I'm lucky. I've been reminded of it by almost everyone I've talked to in the past few months. But I still think we are in a giant hole when it comes to creating a reasonable environment for families.