Take a look at the article on Shifts in Pregnancy and Work in today’s New York Times. I can remember when we had our first baby in 2000. Before kids, my wife was the proverbial superwoman, working long hours and jetting around constantly. Planning for the baby was like scheduling any other event. In fact, she even short-changed herself on the liberal pregnancy leave from her Fortune 100 company so she could get back to work in five weeks. By the time #2 came along though in 2004, she was well-aware of the toll baby-making takes on the body, and maxed out her pregnancy leave, and then some. I was glad she did.
Most women though are struggling with keeping jobs and refinding their place at work after having a baby. This is a huge family issue since more flexible work choices make dual parenting more possible. For some families, it just makes more sense for dad to stay at home for a bit while mom goes back to work.
The data in the New York Times shows women going back after pregnancy in larger numbers and paying less of a price in terms of job and salary. We still aren’t at a point where family’s aren’t penalized, but progress is being made since the anti-family ’60s.
In the early part of this decade, 55 percent returned to work within six months after giving birth; that figure was 14 percent in the early 1960s.
The share who said they returned to work at lower pay declined to just under 2 percent in the latest period from a little more than 4 percent in the early 1990s. College graduates were more likely to work during pregnancy, as were non-Hispanic white women.