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What Are Your Questions About Miscarriage Leave?
Examining New Zealand's new bereavement leave for mothers and fathers
This week, I’ve put together a survey about miscarriage and bereavement leave, and I’d appreciate your help gathering data. On Thursday, I’ll post highlights from our discussion of reproductive asymmetry and rootedness.
And, for anyone new to the newsletter, Other Feminisms is a community for discussing perspectives on feminism that take interdependence, not autonomy, as what it means to be fully human.
I have lost six children through first trimester miscarriage. Each time, I was in a relatively flexible work situation, or my boss (at the excellent remittance company Sendwave) simply told me to take as long as I needed.
Most women don’t have that option. So I was very happy to see New Zealand pass a new law (unanimously!) requiring companies to give parents three days of paid bereavement leave when they lose a child.
But the law is hard to adapt to America—as much as I’d like to see it applied here. New Zealand already had paid bereavement leave, they just added another category to the law that already existed. Americans don’t have any guaranteed bereavement leave, no matter whom they lose.
If we did enact similar laws, I’m curious about how comfortable women and men would feel disclosing their losses to a boss in order to qualify for leave. Admitting you lost a baby is, to an extent, admitting you hope to have a baby, which is often information women conceal from a boss at all costs.
I’ve put together a survey below, to ask a few questions about how you’d approach a miscarriage leave. (You do not need to be a woman or to have ever lost a baby to take the survey).
I’m working on an article about miscarriage leave, so I’ve included a question in the survey about whether you’d be up to be quoted with attribution. If not, no worries. I’m still interested in your thoughts, whether or not they’re for wider publication.
If you’re up for it, please help me out by sharing this post. This survey won’t be a random sample—I’m most interested in hearing from a lot of people with different experiences.
I’ve written a little about our first baby, Robin, whom we lost four years ago this Easter, for First Things. And I’m grateful for the Trappist of New Melleray Abbey, who offer coffins for free to parents who lose a child at any age. It was an enormous privilege to meet them and get to write about their ministry.