I am a mother, a resident of Red Lodge, and the Executive Director of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services. Our mission is to serve individuals, families, and communities impacted by physical, sexual, and emotional abuse in Carbon and Stillwater Counties.

When my son was born, I didn’t want to leave him for a second. Unfortunately, my job didn’t offer paid parental leave, and our maternity leave was unpaid and very ambiguous. I was able to take three months off, but during I worked from home and did what I could to help out. When I decided to go back to work I had to bring my son to work. At the time, Red Lodge had no licensed infant care. I had moved there for my job, so I did not know anyone that could watch him during the day.

Too many parents have gone through the same situation as me. We want to be home, especially right after our children are born. We need more time to recover from childbirth, but many families simply can’t afford it. That is why my small nonprofit is attempting to create our own paid maternity leave. We understand the need to take care of our employees. We want all of our employees to be financially secure in their time of need. I urge this body to act with us and take the same steps.