We may blame the government all we want, but this piece of news will surely make new mothers happy.
The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has proposed to allow new mothers – whether surrogate or commissioning – a 180-day maternity leave. It also proposed to allow male government employees a paternity leave in a case of surrogacy.
According to a Times of India report, a new set of rules circulated by the DoPT read, “There is no provision at present for any kind of leave for surrogate or commissioning (who use a surrogate to bear a child) mothers. It is proposed that 180 days’ maternity leave may be granted to the surrogate as well as commissioning mothers, in case either or both of them are government servants”.
The proposed rule has been put up on the DoPT website as well.
We think the government should be lauded for trying to tune in with the changing needs of the society. It is wonderful that commissioning mothers are being considered too. One may argue that since these mothers do not physically bear the baby, they do not suffer from postpartum stress; that they do not deserve the same treatment as someone who has conceived and carried a child. But irrespective of whether a woman becomes a mother biologically, or through surrogacy, a child is a full-time responsibility. A woman deserves a break after becoming a mother and the government has understood that.
A maternity leave of 180 days will help a commissioning mother understand her baby’s needs. It will also boost the infant’s health. At the same time, the surrogate mother can take her time to get back her strength, postpartum.
The government has done a commendable job keeping fathers in the curriculum as well. Irrespective of their gender and regardless of whether they have borne the child or not, a parent is a parent and remains a parent. A father is equally important and his role is pivotal before, during and after the baby’s birth. A paternity leave, therefore, is equally mandatory.
This was a much-needed move that has finally been pushed out at the right time. The stork has brought in good news indeed, and we hope the country recognizes the needs and demands of new parents. Here’s hoping the same will apply across sectors.
Happy parenthood, indeed!