Our society claims to value children, but struggling mothers like Natasha get no paid family leave. The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn’t offer government-sponsored paid family leave. Almost all of the world’s nations—from Afghanistan to the Democratic Republic of Congo—offer this kind of support, but we don’t. Natasha’s son had a case of asthma that sent him to the hospital regularly. In an industry that offers workers no sick days (in which people regularly come to work ill and as a result spread their germs on our food because they can’t afford to stay home), where people have no paid family leave, or vacation days, a child’s illness is so much more than the minor stress and inconvenience my mother endured when I got sick. There is the added stress of how to pay a doctor or a co-pay, how to make rent if you miss a day’s work to stay home with your child, how to cope with not being there when your son, hospitalized for asthma, calls for his mother.
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