I'm 35 years old. From 2014-2016, I gave birth to twin premature babies, had surgery, and lost both of my parents.
As a teacher, I was really hoping to time the birth of my first child to coincide with the end of a school year. It didn't work out that way -- Isabel was due just before the start of the year. At first, this seemed like the worst possible timing. But then things changed. The last week of school, my blood pressure spiked. Midwives and doctors recommended taking medical leave so I could reduce stress and physical activity. I didn't have to because I would be on summer break. What followed was many, many doctors visits and hospital stays, culminating in HELLP syndrome - a life threatening condition for both me and my baby - and an emergency c-section.
Taking paid leave allowed me to focus on and bond with my new son during the critical period of his first weeks of life. My husband also had leave, and his relationship with our now-toddler is so close. The time allowed me to heal, for both of us to settle into and become comfortable with our new role as parents, and for us to find a child care arrangement we were happy with before going back to work.
I'm currently 6 months pregnant with my first child and am worried and nervous about the time when I can no longer work. I won't be able to pay bills or rent so I'm desperately starting to find options for me. I have never had to be on public assistance and do not want to rely on that. I'm a hard worker and always have been. I've been with my restaurant for a year and a half and I'm looking at any time I need off of work being unpaid. Needless to say it is a scary time in my life.