CANADA: The Long and the Short of Maternity Leave

“You get a year of maternity leave?!”

Her tone, and rightly so, was incredulous. I – a Canadian – was in Washington, DC, speaking at a conference. I was six months pregnant and the topic of maternity leave, for some reason I no longer recall, came up during the Q&A.

In the hall afterwards I ran into one of the women who had attended my session, and, as she was a new mom, we got on to the topic of babies and maternity leave in Canada versus the US.

I didn’t know anything then about what having a newborn was like. I dreaded sleep deprivation (oh, how little I knew how much I should dread it) and was in awe that this new mom, her baby only six weeks old, was already back at work. After she described her new routine – sleepless nights, pumping at work, and all that fun stuff – I had to ask.

“How do you cope?!” (more…)