Should childless women take maternity leave? I know it sounds like a silly question since maternity leave is defined as “a period of absence from work granted to a mother before and after the birth of her child,” but should women without children take extended work leave resembling that of parental leave at some point as well? Well, that’s exactly what magazine-editor-turned-novelist, Meghann Foye, proposes—except she calls it a “meternity leave,” which she describes as “a sabbatical-like break that allows women and, to a lesser degree, men to shift their focus to the part of their lives that doesn’t revolve around their jobs.”
In an interview with the New York Post, Foye explained that after working spending years at a job she loved, she began to grow envious of her pregnant co-workers who left for maternity leave because after a decade of practically being chained to her desk, she was beginning to feel burned out.
“As I watched my friends take their real maternity leaves, I saw that spending three months detached from their desks made them much more sure of themselves. One friend made the decision to leave her corporate career to create her own business; another decided to switch industries,” she told The Post. “From the outside, it seemed like those few weeks of them shifting their focus to something other than their jobs gave them a whole new lens through which to see their lives.”
Eventually, Foye did decide to take leave. And for a year and a half, she spent time catering to her mental and emotional needs. It was also during this time that she penned her novel, Meternity, about a fictional magazine editor who fakes a pregnancy and goes on maternity leave.
Interestingly, people (read: moms) are pretty pissed off about Foye’s whole “meternity leave” concept because they feel that she’s acting as if maternity leave is some sort of vacation when, in fact, it’s a time for new moms to heal and care for their children. Things got so out of control that Foye was supposed to appear on “Good Morning America” today to promote her new book and discuss her stance in the topic; however, she apparently pulled out last minute due to the backlash caused by her Post article. Her absence didn’t stop the women of GMA from going in on her though. Check out footage from the segment below.
What are your thoughts on this? Should all workers take extended leave at some point?