41.

Week 41. Not only did this week mark Andy’s first Christmas, but Andy, who was one week overdue, has officially been in the world longer than he was in the womb. Here’s a flashback to nine months ago!

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It was a bit of a tough week for us. We ventured down to Toronto again this week to spend time with some extended family. I mentioned in our last weekly update that Andy had a fever. It continued to get worse while we were away, spiking at over 40.5 degrees one night. That was scary. The heat came with a side of irritability and general discontentment, and we found ourselves not knowing what fussiness was due to him being sick and what fussiness was just him being naughty. That made responding to his cries and screams really tricky.

As we wrap up the year and start thinking about 2016, I find myself reflecting on the past nine and a half months, and how fortunate I am to be where I am.

Let me explain.

To the best of my knowledge, all working women in Canada, myself included, have access to paid parental leave. For me, the first eighteen days of this was spent resting at home, nesting, and getting ready for Andy’s impending arrival (I hadn’t counted on him being late). Following that, I have had the opportunity to spend time at home with my son, playing, eating, learning, and sleeping. Many of these days were physically and emotionally taxing, but what energy I did have, I was able to spend on taking care of my growing child.

If I were living south of the border, this would be a very different story.

I’ve had both friends and family expect their first child this year in the US, and the story they tell of their first year is vastly different. On forums and blogs, I’ve read a fair bit about what leave is like for working mothers in America. Then I watched this TED talk.

It is absurd to me that a global superpower like the US is not providing paid leave for parents, and that women – women who are trying to recover from the trauma of childbirth, learn how to care for an infant, and juggle a new emotional landscape – are feeling like they need to return to work before they are ready. For the sake of parents and children across America, something needs to change.

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