Improve access to Maternal Healthcare & extend parental leave during Covid-19.

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We are a group of over 200 men and women from across Canada, including nurses, childhood educators, teachers, stay at home parents, grandparents and moms/dads on paternal leave, to name a few.  We are concerned for moms and babies, and the impacts of the pandemic upon them.  Specifically the government’s decision to redirect health resources specific to babies and mothers towards Covid-19 containment efforts (such as testing etc).  As well as the closure and cancellation of many essential health needs for mothers and babies, or such services being deemed as “non-essential.”  This has had a terribly detrimental impact on mothers and babies both mentally and physically.  We ask that the essential healthcare for babies and parents be returned.  We are also petitioning for more time for them together to utilize these resources once returned.

Canadians on parental leave have already lost two months of enjoying a normal leave, with access to proper care and resources, due to the restrictions of Covid-19.  We propose the government extend paid parental leave for three months for parents this year to allow mom/dad and baby more time together and time to heal from the damage done to them from isolation and Covid-19 government related restrictions on gathering and movement.  Many parents do not even have safe childcare available for their one year old due to government restrictions.  If parents have the option to stay home with their babies then there will be more of the limited childcare available for others who want it.

Lastly, in March of 2020 school children were sent home due to Covid-19 risk and with very little being known about the virus, why did some parents whose parental leave ended at that time have to send their one year old out into the world for the first time? This is wrong.  Legislation is needed to protect future babies during a global pandemic.  This must be discussed by our government.    

1.  Pregnancy and childbirth have an enormous impact on a woman’s physical and mental well being. Time is needed to rest and also to exercise and heal her body. This time is not available to a lot of mothers currently due to the closure of daycare and schools which has made extra demands on parents. Also spaces that offer specialized classes and care have been closed by the government. Mothers have not had access to basic health services which are crucially needed during pregnancy and post partum for herself or her baby. Baby’s and mothers are not getting assessed as often or as throughly as they normally would.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/linda-king-miscarriage-covid-testing-1.5588712?__vfz=medium%3Dsharebar

2. Parents are not getting the opportunity to bond with other parents in the same stage of life, as programs and meet up locations have been closed by the government. Many women are at home isolated pregnant or with a baby and not being allowed to form the normal relationships with other mothers that would other wise happen at this stage of parental leave.  Many pregnant mothers are experiencing anxiety.  They are struggling to navigate the constantly changing and isolating rules surrounding their appointments and healthcare.  After childbirth, many mothers are suffering from post partum depression, with a decrease in the assessment of their mental health from usual sources.  This also includes friends and family who were not able to visit and care for the mother.  Current studies are showing an increase in postpartum depression during the pandemic.  Not only is this harmful to the mother but also to her baby and other children.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/09/parenting/mental-health-parents-coronavirus.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2724170/pdf/pch09584.pdf

3.  Social distancing has led to many parents being isolated at home alone, especially if their partner is still working, leaving them without normal supports, such as friends and family visiting. Despite the recent easing of restrictions, parents have lost a total of two months of visitors and supports. Some without immediate family nearby have not found the easing of restrictions useful. Baby’s have not had a chance to bond with other family members or friends.  This can affect the baby’s development. 

https://healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/Pages/Emotional-and-Social-Development-Birth-to-3-Months.aspx

4.  Parent and baby are not being given adequate time to bond and establish healthy routines due to the stress of having other children at home on this parental leave or dealing with other stressors related to Covid-19. Time usually spent bonding and caring for a baby is now being used to juggle multiple tasks and chores, homeschooling and care for other children. These other children are developing mental health issues or behaviour issues of their own which causes further stress on the parent. Or other out of norm concerns related to Covid-19. Mothers are not getting enough time to focus on establishing breastfeeding or their baby meeting proper milestones or growth, and are lacking the access to care to help them.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/mishagajewski/2020/06/19/moms-are-not-okay-coronavirus-pandemic-triples-anxiety-and-depression-in-new-mothers/5

5. The Maternal journey is unique and challenging in its own individual way. Bringing a baby into the world is an experience that we will not have many opportunities in our life to have. It is a special, unique and vulnerable time. One that should be full of love, fun and support. This time of the world, the pandemic, has led parents to spend a great time of their maternal journey alone, worried, fearful and stressed.  This includes financial worries and concerns for their hours and jobs related to expecting a baby or on parental leave.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/27/parenting/coronavirus-postpartum-depression-anxiety.html

Mothers want access to their essential maternal healthcare during pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum.

Parents want more time with their babies to address all the damage done to themselves and their babies either mentally or physically. 

We propose the government extend parental leave with pay this year for a minimum of three months.  The government must also ensure legislation is passed to protect parents and babies during future global emergencies.

Please sign to show your support.  Please send emails to ask for this.  We need every voice heard.  

Respectfully,

The Canadian Maternal Health Petition Group (Covid-19) 2020.

Send emails and stories to:

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca

Maryam.Monsef@parl.gc.ca

Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca

Patty.Hajdu@parl.gc.ca

Carla.Qualtrough@parl.gc.ca