Having a baby is one of the biggest events in two parents lives. Pregnancy, childbirth and the ensuing days of caring for a baby can be very challenging. However, we live in a society that appreciates the importance of that time period and how involved parents need to be during the early years. This has resulted in very flexible maternity benefits and parental leave options and benefits.
When I became pregnant for the first time, I was very sick and did not deal well with pregnancy. I was working in a mailroom at the time and this required that I be on my feet for as long as eight hours a day. I lasted a little over three months and then found that I just had to get off my feet. I ended up taking a job in a call centre where I could sit for most of my shift which were usually limited to four hours rather than eight.
By around the five month mark, I found that I was merely dragging myself from my bed to work and back again. The company I was working for decided to lay many of us off, so I ended up taking my maternity leave early, after which point I had decided to become a stay-at-home parent. Unfortunately, I never received any maternity benefits until three months after my son’s birth. This was due to a mistake on my Record of Employment stating that I had quit, rather than been laid off.
By the time I had tracked down my previous employer and obtained the corrected documentation, filled out the appropriate forms and allowed time for them to be processed my son was three month’s old and we were in dire financial straits.
Finally, my maternity benefits kicked in and I received my long overdue payments much to our relief. I finished up my one year of maternity benefits entitlement and continued on as a stay-at-home parent until my son was two.
Five years later I was pregnant again, however this time, I stuck it out and worked right up until my due date. That way I would have a full year of maternity leave after the new baby was born. This time I was smart and had filed all the paperwork as soon as possible. I had no difficulty being approved for maternity benefits and I received all payments promptly.
As it turned out, my husband opted to take a portion of the maternity leave quota as parental leave. I had again decided to be a stay-at-home parent during the early years of our daughter’s life, so a portion of the time was spent with both parents at home. I was eligible for special training for mothers wishing to start their own business and so I was able to attend school during this time, while my husband took over the stay-at-home parent role, on a part-time basis.
We both are thankful to be able to be the parents our baby needs during their early years. All too often it is a daycare that does this for us. The maternity benefits we have has played a crucial part in making this happen.