In April 2016, my wife was seven months pregnant with our first child. With no warning, her blood pressure began to spike and she was diagnosed with serious medical condition that threatened both her health and that of our unborn daughter.
To prevent my wife’s symptoms from worsening, our daughter was delivered almost 3 months early at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, weighing just 2 lb 7 oz. While my wife took unpaid leave after the delivery to recovery from her own diagnosis, my daughter would spend the next 86 days at the Beth Israel Neonatal Intensive Care unit. The majority of her time there was spent connected to machines to feed her, help her breathe, and monitor her vitals until she was strong enough to come home.
Fortunately, my job allowed me to take 10 weeks of paid caregiver leave to help me care for both my wife, and our fragile newborn daughter when she left the hospital. During that 10 weeks, I was not only able to spend essential bonding time with my wife and baby, but was able to continue supporting my family by paying bills, including the thousands of dollars in medical bills that stacked up during our stay at the NICU.
Now, my family is healthy and growing. My daughter is an active toddler. My wife and I are back at work. Because of the paid leave that I received, I did not have to choose between caring for my family when they needed me the most, and continuing work just to bring home a paycheck. No one should have to make that choice.
I support paid leave because it is a recognition that employees are human and that we depend on each other. We need to be able to rely on others to get through the tough times in life, just as others rely on us.