Husband: Darling, I think you should tell your employer that you are pregnant. You should discuss with him some good arrangements for you both.
Wife: Like what?
Husband: Like the period of time you would be not working, some partial availability later, home office hours, etc. And, the most important, you should tell him that he wouldn’t need to pay you while you are not working.
Wife: And how would I pay my bills?
Husband: I would pay your bills. The baby is ours and I assume the finances while you can’t work.
Wife: But I don’t want to depend on you like this. I think the employers should pay the salary while women can’t work, there is no other way. I’ll be breast feeding, I can’t work for some months, babies are like this. I have the rights of having a baby.
Husband: There is (or was) another way. You could have saved money before, enough money to leave your job for one year, for example. This is real independence.
I had this kind of conversation with many different women and the pattern is clear: most of people fail to understand the relationship between rights (or freedom) and responsibility, at least when applied to pregnancy.
Freedom and responsibility are tightly coupled. You can’t never be really free if you can’t assume the responsibility on your actions.
Put yourself in the position of an employer or talk to a friend who owns a company and try to understand why usually women have more difficulties to find good jobs and receive higher salaries than men. I don’t want to simplify a complex relationship such as employer and employee, but it’s clear to me that women usually have and ask for more rights than men.
Is it really fair when a woman has the freedom to choose when she gets pregnant (yes, she has in the 99% of the cases) while the employer is just forced to absorb many of the consequences? Please, put yourself in the employer position before answering.
Let’s think about an example. Imagine you pay monthly a gym instructor and you’re so far very happy about her service. Then, one day she suddenly tells you she is pregnant and she won’t work for the next four months, but she expects you to continue to pay normally over this period. Does it sound insane?
If you think deeply you are going to see that the real employer/employee relationship is practically the same of the wife I mentioned before. The wife, as an employee, sell her services to her company in a very similar way a gym instructor sells her service to anyone else.
Personal principles are usually not related to legal rights; they very often oppose each other. The former says much about a character; the other depends where you live. Do your principles change when you move to another country?
Yes, I’m a man talking about pregnancy. Why should any woman listen to me? Because getting pregnant (even accidentally) or becoming a father is a decision you make at some point, starting when you have sex with someone. If you want to be free to make this kind of decisions, you should be prepared to assume the responsibilities.