Last week, I finished a three-month parental leave made possible in part by my employer. My wife and I are thrilled to be raising our family here in Maine. The postpartum experience has been an immensely challenging experience, and I can scarcely understand how new parents undertake this without paid family leave.

In the first two weeks postpartum, my body was exhausted and my hormones were regulating. I worked around the clock to feed our child and attempt to take care of myself. For many weeks after that, I was still acclimating to life with a newborn. These days, I’m still seeing a physical therapist to heal from the birth.

My postpartum experience included the best of scenarios. Many new parents are less fortunate than I was. If we value families in Maine, then we must not penalize them for growing. Paid leave benefits our children and parents of any gender. To uplift growing Maine families is not a burden; it is a collective duty. Requiring paid family leave is the least our state can do to protect families and give our children a healthy start in life.

Ophelia Hu Kinney

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