After Baby: Long Maternity Leave Was 'Financially Disastrous'

Shana, a public school teacher, talks about how finances affected her maternity leave decisions.

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Hi my name is Shana, and I have a three and half year old son, and a nine month old daughter, and I'm a public school teacher. [MUSIC] With my son, I actually decided to take off for most of the school year. And although it was wonderful, and I loved it, and I would never, you know, give that time back. Financially it was. It's pretty disastrous. So when my daughter was born we basically didn't have a choice. I was given 12 weeks unpaid and that's what I had to take because we couldn't afford any other option. Just knowing that I wouldn't be there for her like I was for my son. Was probably the most difficult. But I also told myself that my mother worked, and she was a teacher, and I always looked up to her and respected that. So I'm hoping that my daughter will feel the same way, and my son will feel the same way about me. [What About Childcare?] We knew right away that, for our family, we needed to have a babysitter and not daycare. We interviewed based on recommendations. Everyone says you'll know when you meet that person, and we just did. With this babysitter, we just felt like she was the right person. With both of my children, I counted up the hours that the babysitter was with them versus the time that I was with them and it. Made me very sad to realize that I was away from them for that amount of time. But then basically what I told myself was you know by me working. I'm able to support the family and to give them not just basic needs. But extra things [MUSIC] You know the best advice that I was given is that a happy mom is a happy home and if you're happy working then you shouldn't feel guilty about that and your kids will see that you're happy and it was true. I am happy when I'm working

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