Are 'Meternity' Leaves for Non-Parents a Good Idea?

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Media Outlet: CNN

Brigid Schulte wrote for CNN about women who fake pregnancies in order to take time out of the office and whether that's a good idea:

When I think back on the happiest times of my life, I immediately think of my two periods of maternity leave after my children were born. And it's not just because of the sheer joy of being with my babies.

It's also because after working flat out and full steam as a daily newspaper reporter for more than a decade, in an era of shrinking staff and expanding appetite for ever more "content," my leave -- partly paid, mostly unpaid -- at least got me out of the office.

Yes, I was physically exhausted, but maternity leave was such a welcome respite from the grinding pace of work. After years of willingly working evenings, weekends and sometimes pulling all-nighters, I was just really, really tired.

So let's get two things straight: Meghann Foye, author of the new novel, "Meternity," about a woman who fakes a pregnancy just to get a break from work, is absolutely wrong when she calls maternity leave a blissful time for "self-reflection" -- an ill-advised claim that has set the Internet on furious fire. (I get it. Maternity leave is not a vacation. On "productive" days with my newborns, I may have managed to clip their fingernails. Most days evaporated in a sleep-deprived haze.)


Brigid Schulte is the director of the Better Life Lab at New America. Schulte is an award-winning journalist and author, who writes widely for publications including the Washington Post, Slate, Time,  the Guardian, and others. Her book on time pressure, gender roles and modern life, Overwhelmed, Work, Love and Play when No One has the Time, was a New York Times bestseller.