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Teachers and Maternity Leave
by Angela Udelhoven
Friday, January 17, 2020

For most women, getting pregnant while working can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. We sometimes see news of women getting fired for getting pregnant while in the workforce, whether it was planned or not. Some jobs allow women 12 weeks of maternity leave, but some new mothers who are less fortunate only get half that time off. This means they have to give birth, adjust to being a new mother and learning how to take care of a child, then go back to work, all while figuring out daycare, money for formula and diapers, and most of the time running on little sleep. 

I spoke with Jena Hore, a middle school teacher at Potosi High School, who gave birth over the summer to a son. I asked her a few questions about her experiences with maternity leave. She explained how the school board handled her telling them she was pregnant, and how she was afraid of the worst if she told them. She was one of the luckier women, and when she told her boss, Mr. Mike Uppena, he congratulated her on the impending birth of her child and offered her the opportunity to take up to 12 weeks of maternity leave. She said, “I only took 6 weeks of maternity leave since I gave birth in the summer, so I didn’t end up missing as much work as I would have, had I given birth during the school year.”

I asked her about how it felt to have to transition from being with her baby all day, every day, to only being with him before and after work. “It was a difficult transition, having to work while finding someone that I trust to watch my child.” 

Jena Hore is glad to be back at work and with the students every day, but the time she spent off work to be with her newborn was very important for her.