time for a change

New Mom Goes Off On Maternity Leave In America Vs. Other Countries

"How is it okay to leave a human at 6 weeks old?"

A new mom went on a viral rant about maternity leave in the United States versus other countries.
Anna Gantt / TikTok

While out on a walk with her six week old baby and dog, one new mom had some words for the maternity leave policies (or lack there of) that parents are graciously given in America.

Model Anna Gantt went off on American maternity leave and how it’s pretty unfathomable that parents are expected to go back to work so quickly after having a kid. Now a mom herself, she’s in shock at how little time parents have off to bond with their new kids.

“You want to know what's f*cked up? American maternity leave,” Gantt begins.

“I'm six weeks postpartum with my baby, and there's no way on earth I would be going back to work right now. The people who decided that it is okay to leave an infant at a daycare at six weeks old — jail.”

She goes on to explain that in Georgia, where she lives, it’s against the law to separate a puppy or a kitten from its mother before eight weeks.

“So how is it okay to leave a human at six weeks old?” she asks while taking a walk with her dog and baby — something that she can only newly do physically at six weeks postpartum.

Gantt then recognizes her privilege, noting that she cannot fathom the idea of mothers suffering from postpartum anxiety or postpartum depression having to go back to work. Postpartum working life is hard enough as it is (being away from baby, pumping at work, etc.) without suffering from anxiety or depression on top of that.

However, there are millions of mothers in America who have no choice.

“And I can't imagine being in the position where you must go back to work in order to survive, in order to provide for your family with dual income, or if your partner's not working and you're the one that's responsible, that must be awful. I thankfully work from home, but hitting six weeks and knowing that this is when most women return to work here in the United States is insanity,” she vented.

She then compares America’s pathetic (basically nonexistent) maternity and paternity leave policies compared to her friends who live in other countries.

“My friends in other countries are guaranteed six months paid leave, up to a year, two years. I have a friend who just got two years paid maternity leave — that included six months for her husband a that the parents can, I don't know, parent,” she continued.

The twenty-four-year old mom then calls for action and change, noting that American maternity leave is basically B.S., and her heart is with all the moms who go back to work before they’re ready.

Gantt has every right to be angry because she’s right. The United States is way behind pretty much every other developed country when it comes to time off for new parents. And it turns out that most Americans would love to have some extra time off after a new baby.

The U.S. does not have mandated paid maternity or paternity leave for working citizens. It is up to each individual employer to decide whether to offer parental leave. Even federal employees are granted a measly 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

According to Investopedia, 70% of Americans support the idea of paid parental leave. However, only 55% of employers offer paid maternity leave while 45% of businesses also offer paid paternity leave. That means only about half of working parents are receiving some sort of payment while on parental leave.

Across the world, the average for paid maternity leave is about 29 weeks, while the average paid paternity leave is 16 weeks. Most developed countries offer much more — 20 countries, including Canada, Sweden, and Japan, offer more than a year of paid time off for new parents.

Parents are not the only ones who would benefit from extra time off. A 2022 study found that infants with increased activity of higher-frequency brain waves were 7.39 times more likely to have mothers with paid leave.