Saturday, August 9, 2008

FMLA Guilt

A birth mom chose us. We don't know the baby's gender. It was so easy, really fell into place with minimal effort (but a lot of stress) on our parts.

How to plan our FMLA has been a nightmare. If she goes early, the following will have to be adjusted.

She is due 12/3, but it is a planned section, so we think she'll probably be scheduled at 38 or 39-ish weeks and her state is half the country away from ours. If we are lucky, they'll deliver her 11/24, the Monday before Thanksgiving. I'm off from 11/24 through Wed 12/3 and then start a week of nights on 12/4. We have to stay in the state of the birth for 7-14 days for legal shenanigans before we could bring the baby home. I could, if need be, fly back a.m. of 12/4 if we still aren't allowed to leave the state and leave Husband there with the kids (pleural...neato!).

We think Husband, whose job is in accreditation, will work from home in December, something he is able to do in around the holidays. I will go ahead and work through my current schedule, which is set through January 4th, then take eight weeks of FMLA.

Why, as an adoptive mother, do I feel guilt for taking FMLA? If they were to cut this baby out of my own uterus, I wouln't think it extraordinary to stay with the baby for awhile. I haven't gotten a lot of flack for it at work, but the discomfort I feel is totally self-inflicted.

As Mothers in Medicine, sometimes we have to be better, stronger, faster than our colleagues to avoid being judged. And sometimes, we do it for ourselves, as in, "Look at me. I'm still a good doctor even though I have a new baby."

Meanwhile, please pray this goes through. The birth mom is mature and intelligent and already has three children, but we know this could go wrong anytime, even after the baby has been born.

Isn't it amazing that we could be so attached to a person we've not met, who hasn't even been born, who isn't our blood relative?

Love is amazing.


  1. FD~ Wow! Congrats on the good news. We'll be praying that all goes well in the coming months! So happy for you! As for the FMLA guilt? Let. It. Go. You are a great doctor (and mother), and you don't have anything to prove. Anyone judging you for taking that time isn't worth your worry, anyway.

    You are bringing home a new baby, whether from your own body or not, and you need that time with them...guilt and worry free. Good luck! :)

  2. Awesome!

    I'll continue to pray for you & yours.

  3. On my radiology elective last year, I overheard a conversation about a lesbian who'd graduated from the program and who took full maternity leave when she adopted. The (all male) group were so derisive! I was shocked. "It's not like she actually did anything." Uh, yeah, because all that time off is just to recover from giving birth. Has nothing to do with the MAJOR adjustment of bringing a new completely dependent being into your life. Stupid men. I was so mad, and mad at myself for not speaking up, but I held my tongue. (I wonder if they'd have been so quick to criticize if it had been a straight colleague who'd done the same.)

    Congratulations to you, and give yourself permission to take the time you and your family need to adjust to this new wonderful person in your life.

  4. This is such great news. So excited for your family.

    I understand very well about self-inflicted discomfort. But, really, it's what you need, what your baby needs, what your family needs. No one needs a better explanation than that.

  5. Congratulations. Take the time you need with your baby (after all, you can't get it back once it's gone) and tell
    em to go pound sand!

  6. Congratulations -- remember that no one's ENTIRE FMLA for the birth of a child is due to the mother's disabilty for giving birth (presumed to be 6 weeks for c-section, less for vaginal birth, right?) -- the rest is for bonding with the child which your child will need as much as any other child.

    Enjoy the time -- you will be just as sleep deprived and shell shocked as any other mom and deserve to take the time you need. Even the mainly male and often clueless Congress got that when they wrote adoptive parents into the law. --

    From another adoptive mom who will show up as anonymous as I dont' ahve a google account.

  7. My thoughts are with you! This is wonderful news. Not worried about the FMLA - you and your colleagues have some time to plan for contingencies - best wishes!


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