Ask a thousand women what the first few weeks after they give birth is like and you’ll get a thousand different stories. There will be some similarities between them though; joy, relief, exhaustion, fear even, stress.
The birth of my first child was like being hit by a truck, slowly. I was recovering from a caesarean, breastfeeding was a non-starter, I didn’t expect the day three hormone surge, I thought I would literally never sleep again and I was in danger of post-natal depression.
Although I didn’t experience the slap in the face that a baby can be to a first-time mother with my second child, I was recovering from a vaginal birth after a caesarean then from surgery to stop me from haemorrhaging to death. I couldn’t walk from one end of the house to the other and eight days after her birth I spent the day in the oncology ward getting an iron transfusion.
Imagine, then, adding financial uncertainty into the mix.
This is the position approximately 50,000 Australian women find themselves in today.
As Mamamia previously reported, the Turnbull Government introduced legislation into Parliament to cut Government-funded paid parental leave for so-called "double dippers"; new parents who have employer provided paid parental leave and who also claim leave from the Government.
The Minister for Social Services, Christian Porter, is focussed on making paid parental leave fairer. In a statement issued on Sunday he said, "The measure is designed to make PPL fairer. Currently a parent earning $140,000 annually can receive a combined government and employer PPL amount of more than $44,000 – this is more than another parent working a minimum wage will earn in an entire year and that is not fair.
"The majority of parents (more than half or around 90,000 parents) remain unaffected by this change."
But News Ltd's Samantha Maiden reported that the cuts may start as early as 1 January if they're passed in time.
That means that many couples who have conceived a child since about March of this year cannot adequately plan for their financial security in the post-natal period.
This seems to be a contradiction to assurances the Minister gave in April this year, when he told ABC Radio National, "People who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the status quo is clearly going to be maintained for a period of time."
The minister argues that the cuts are a long-standing policy of the government. He's right it is. The cuts were first discussed during as part of the Budget in May 2015. They were mentioned again in the 2015 MYEFO statements.
They were the subject of public discussion in April when the government couldn't get the cuts through the Senate and they were also the subject of discussion in the first week of the marathon eight-week-long election campaign.
But what was never the subject of discussion was when the cuts would be implemented.
You may argue, and many probably will, that the statement Minister Porter gave to ABC Radio National earlier this year is technically correct. The status quo has been maintained for a period of time.
But not for longer than a pregnancy, not long enough to give 50,000 Australian mothers the opportunity to ensure that they have the financial stability they need in what is one of the most stressful times of their life.
And that is a breach of trust.
Australian mothers deserve better.
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