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

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We are a group of over 160 women including nurses, childhood educators, teachers, stay at home moms, grandmothers and moms on maternity leave, to name a few.  We are concerned for moms and babies, and the impacts of the pandemic upon them.  Specifically the governments decision to redirect health resources specific to babies and mothers care 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 effect on mothers and babies mental and physical health.  We demand these essential resources back for babies and mothers, and we demand more time for them to utilize them.

Mothers on maternity leave have already lost two months of enjoying a normal maternity leave, with access to proper care and resources, due to the restrictions of Covid-19.  We propose the government extend paid maternity leave for three months for mothers this year to allow mother 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 mothers do not even have safe childcare available for their one year old due to government restrictions.  If mothers have the option to stay home with their babies then there will be more of the limited childcare available for others who want it.

1. Mother and baby are not being given adequate time to bond and establish healthy routines due to the stress of having other children home on this maternity 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 Mother.  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.

2. Mothers are not getting the opportunity to bond with other mothers 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 maternity leave.  Many mothers are experiencing anxiety and post partum depression.

3. Pregnancy and childbirth have an enormous impact on a woman’s physical 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. Also spaces that offer specialized exercise 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.

4. Social distancing has led to many mothers being isolated at home alone, especially if their partner is still working, leaving mothers without normal supports, such as friends and family visiting. Despite the recent easing of restrictions, mothers have lost a total of two months of visitors and supports. Some mothers 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 their development. 

5. Bringing a baby into the world is experience that we will not have many opportunities in our life to have. It is a special and unique time. One that should be full of love and fun. This time of the world, this pandemic, has led mothers 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 being pregnant or on maternity leave.

Mothers 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 maternity leave with pay this year for a minimum of three months.  Please sign to show your support.  Please send emails to ask for this.  We need every voice heard.  

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

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