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I know firsthand that having kids while young is penalized at work. If we're worried about declining birth rates, workplaces need to start supporting young motherhood.

2 40 0
15.07.2021

I will never forget that moment: It was just a few weeks after giving birth to my second child — I was 26 years old and on unpaid maternity leave (I had not worked the full year required in order to take advantage of my company's policy). I was staring at a hospital bill for childbirth, and ping! I received an email notification: my monthly student loan payment was due. I looked around and thought: Welcome to American millennial motherhood.

For the last few years, I've been reading the latest studies on the declining American birth rate with an amused smile.

Of course my generation of American women is choosing to push off childbearing, and having fewer children once they start. It's not only because of the obvious price tags of healthcare and childcare, but also because of the less-easily quantified cost: The price of working in a culture which has little tolerance for mothers, a culture which gives women little time to have children.

We can't talk about the declining American birth rate without talking about how workplace culture — sometimes, in ostensibly progressive spaces — often deters women from choosing to have children during their most fertile stage in life, which often results in women having fewer children than they themselves may want.

In far too many workplaces, pregnancy, birth, and child-rearing in the early chapters of one's career is a liability — and few young women are ready to take that risk, knowing they'll have little support for it. In contrast, studies show that women who have children later are more........

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