Kathleen Leuschen published Motherhood at any income #DAresists #Medicare4all in Healthcare Stories 2017-09-25 10:49:29 -0400
My story is about my two daughters. The first was born when I was just finishing my graduate degree and my husband was working full time. I had no maternity leave - not even the statutory benefits given in Canada - because I was self-employed and a student so I had not paid enough into employment insurance to receive any assistance. I relied on my husband's income to get us through. We had an amazing experience with a dedicated ob-gyn doctor and a hospital stay with lovely nursing staff. I was referred by my family physician to my ob-gyn and was never stressed about the cost. Cost was simply non-existent. I focused on having a healthy pregnancy at every stage, a gorgeous daughter was born. My second daughter was born when I had just started a new job and after my husband had been let go during the 2007-2008 economic downturn. He had been looking for a job for nearly a year. I did not qualify for my workplace's maternity leave as I had not worked there long enough prior to needing leave, but I did have the statutory benefits of government maternity leave. It wasn't great timing. We didn't have a lot of savings if things went wrong. But my experience did not change one bit. In fact, I was at higher risk so I received more attention than during my first pregnancy. I had the same ob-gyn, the same hospital, and the same lovely experience. I was not stressed about cost. Cost was simply non-existent. I focused on having a healthy pregnancy, and a bright, gorgeous daughter was born. To imagine that one of the most precious moments in a mother's life could be overshadowed by the stress of needing to make hospital bill payments is daunting. How could it effect my child's health? Would I have made decisions to compromise my care while pregnant? Should any mother be put in that position because of her economic status? Healthcare for all is about living through change and knowing you will be ok, knowing you will be well. It means our children will be born as healthy, contributing citizens with a legacy of care - literally. Should motherhood be a health risk? Just ask your mother!