Expecting the Unexpected—When the Stork Says “You’re Fired”
Hitting theaters this week: What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Hollywood’s humorous take on the trials and travails of pregnancy and parenting. According to the trailer, the big screen comedy features five couples whose “lives are turned upside down by the challenges of impending parenthood.”
Hitting your computer this week: A Better Balance’s sobering small-screen look at what you may NOT be expecting when you’re expecting—losing your job. Check out our new video and hear real stories from people whose lives were turned upside down by outdated laws and workplace policies that pushed them out of the jobs they needed to support their growing families.
Our culture has an obsession with pregnancy and parenting advice. Our news media is awash with stories of celebrity baby bumps, breastfeeding preschoolers and tiger moms. But we hear far less about the critical challenges facing millions of expecting and new parents, such as pregnancy discrimination, inflexible work schedules, lack of time off to care for new and sick children, and rampant bias in the workplace against family caregivers. Rollercoaster hormones may plague plenty of pregnant women, but so do outdated laws that don’t guarantee expecting moms the right to minimal workplace modifications they need to stay healthy and employed.
This is one of many areas where we, as a country, can do better. Just last week, members of Congress introduced the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which would ensure protections for pregnant workers who face being pushed out on leave or terminated when they ask their employers for even the most minor workplace accommodations. No pregnant woman should be forced to choose between a paycheck and a healthy pregnancy. (To learn more about this legislation and support it becoming law, please visit A Better Balance’s website.)
Pregnancy and parenthood will inevitably lead to upheaval of some sort, but we can make sure they do not lead to demotion, job loss and poverty. Together, we can change our laws and culture to value the work that goes into creating and raising a healthy, happy and productive member of our society. Expecting parents should be able to expect that.