Parental leave as a means to further wellbeing and society as a whole

Many new mothers suffer from medical and mental health issues after having given birth. This is not limited to England. Indeed, it was recently revealed that midwives in Sweden often fail to examine new mothers properly in order to assess whether they might need any further procedure, such as surgery.

Post-natal depression has become a more common issue. The rise may party be because doctors have become better at diagnosing it, and because more women feel comfortable talking about it. Regardless, the fact remains that many women struggle right after having given birth.

In many instances, having the child’s other parent actively involved in the weeks following birth can help to identify mental or physical issues that risk going undetected if mothers have to cope by themselves. This entails that parents have to be enabled to be involved. In other words, they have to be entitled to sufficient parental leave, both for a period immediately after the birth of their child, but also at a later stage so that they get the opportunity to bond with the child.

At the moment, parental leave is not very generous, except for mothers. Fathers do not enjoy nearly the same time with their child. Not only can parental leave help to detect healthcare issues, but it is also a means to furthering equality.

Parental leave is often seen as a cost to society. However, the rewards are often incomparable as children and parents get to form an attachment at an early stage, and the childcare is naturally shared between the two parents.