News Roundup: September 12

Prenatal Care

Finding high-quality prenatal care is often challenging, particularly if it’s not just physical care that’s required.  In Slate’s recent three-part series, Not Just the Pregnancy Blues, Jessica Grose explores some of the complex issues surrounding mental health care during pregnancy—from her own and other women’s stories of struggling with depression and finding the appropriate treatment path, to the conflicting research evidence on medication-based treatment during pregnancy.

While much of the article reveals some distressing truths about the treatment of mental health concerns in mothers-to-be, Grose does provide some notes of optimism. For instance, awareness and care has improved in recent years, particularly when women have access to a well-integrated system of obstetric and mental health care providers. [Slate]

Paid Family Leave

  • Kelly Van Atta, a school teacher in California, talks about the realities and challenges she faced as a new mother, from the formal processes of leaving and returning from work to letting go of certain expectations of herself and learning to ask for help. [Forbes]

  • In a blog for Inside Higher Ed, Wendy Robinson describes how she tried to balance the priorities of motherhood and a high-responsibility career. She makes it clear that cutting her leave short of what she was legally allowed was just as much to minimize the impact of her absence as it was to ensure her family’s financial stability.  [Inside Higher Ed]

It’s clear that even if the U.S. implemented a comprehensive paid leave program tomorrow, there would still be more involved in maternity leave and the family-work balance than just having the right and financial ability to take time off. Without improved supports both at work and in the home, many mothers (and fathers) are still going to struggle with the transition from work to home and back or believe that extended leave is not feasible.

 

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