Any experienced mom will tell you that a baby registry is often filled with items that may never be used. Some new moms are finding a way to ask for what they really want: time with their new baby.
The United States is one of just a handful of countries that does not mandate paid maternity leave. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that only 13 percent of U.S. workers have access to any form of paid family leave. In fact, research shows that one in four mothers returns to work within two weeks of having a new baby.
Childbirth and the hormonal changes that go along with it are exhausting. Additionally, many new moms are adjusting to a lack of sleep, all while trying to get the hang of breastfeeding. While moms try desperately to find ways to stay home with their babies, those that must return to work face the emotional, physical, and psychological toll that goes along with returning to work too soon.
Leave it to a mom to try to find a solution. After experiencing unpaid or partially paid maternity leave with her four children, Margi Scott of Minneapolis, decided to launch Take12, a “crowdfunding meets baby registry” website.
The issue of maternity leave hit home for Scott after experiencing the premature birth of her twins. With a 5 and an 8-year-old already at home, Scott was commuting daily to the neonatal intensive care unit. She realized just how quickly her maternity leave was being used. As a sales manager and the breadwinner of the family, Scott was not certain how her family would fare after her nine weeks of disability pay ended.
Over dinner one evening Scott’s mother suggested that she crowdfund for her maternity leave. After a bit of research, Scott learned that thousands of other women were already using crowdsourcing platforms, such as GoFundMe, YouCaring, and Plumfund, to raise funds for their leave. That’s when Scott decided to create her own crowdfunding platform tailored to the specific needs of expecting moms.
“I didn’t need stuff as much I needed time with my baby and time to recover from my own health experience. It’s socially acceptable for us to ask for stuff, but what if we don’t need stuff, what if what we really need– is time?” Scott told Kare11.com . “I wanted to create a place where it would be okay for women to ask for what they really need and for them to be able to register for time with their baby.”
Instead of asking for baby items, expectant parents can direct their friends and family to their personalized website on Take12. Loved ones can “purchase” shower time, a night of sleep, baby snuggles, and more.
Take 12 is more than a crowdfunding platform. The site offers a personalized calculator that assists families in figuring out the amount needed to take a full twelve weeks of maternity leave. The site also provides additional resources such as a downloadable planning guide and maternity leave checklist.
For Scott, her business is so much more than a venue for women to raise funds. She hopes that her work is bringing attention to this fundamental public-health issue.
“This is not an entitlement issue,” she writes. “As a nation, we put undue emotional, mental, physical, and financial stress on 50% of our workforce who are also the mothers to the future of our country in their most vulnerable stage of life.”