Mothers Must Make Choices Every Day
As a defense attorney representing employers in labor and employment matters, my experience has shown me, and I truly believe, that employers do not intend to discriminate against women with children. Yet, as a professional with two darling children, I recognize that I make choices every day between spending time with my children and engaging in opportunities to further my position professionally. My decisions, thankfully, are made easier because I have an extensive support system that allows me, when I must be away from my children, to know that they are being cared for as I would.
As background to the beginnings of that support, when I was 21 weeks pregnant with our first, we learned that my water had broken; I was admitted to the hospital, where I remained for two months, until Alex was born at 32 weeks. He stayed in the NICU for exactly one month, and when we brought him home, he was on an apnea monitor, which would alert us if he stopped breathing.
Everyone at FordHarrison was incredibly supportive of me, and gave me every possible advantage. When it was time for me to return to work, I was fortunate not to have to make the hard decision to leave my fragile infant with a stranger for 10 hours a day; instead, my mother-in-law began flying from Miami every Sunday night to care for Alex during the week. When I became pregnant with our second child, my in-laws moved from Miami to Jacksonville, and now live next door. Additionally, my parents visit regularly from Gainesville and provide extensive support during school breaks.
While my support system is made up primarily of relatives, many of my close friends rely on not only family, but also professional care givers whom they have grown to trust as family. They also have had the luxury of relying on others to provide for their children’s needs in order to allow them to focus on furthering their professional goals.
So, no, I do not believe that employers discriminate against women with children. What I believe is that, if we as a society value women of all familial backgrounds in the workplace, we need to support policies that allow all women with children to consider working full time a viable option.