Canada’s First Maternity Leave Program Invests in Mothers
If my first maternity leave challenged me, my second maternity leave rocked me to the core.
I’ve always been a professionally driven woman, successful in my career and I naively thought that motherhood would be no different. I assumed it would be tough but that with a few resources and some family support I would be able to tackle this transition as I had the others in my life. There were no women in my organisation talking about the struggles or inner conflict around being a working mother. There was talk of cute babies but no words of advice around lost identity, fractured self worth or the logistical puzzles that being a working mother involved. My employer was supportive and kind but largely removed from the process. There wasn’t a lot of conversation around a transition plan or return-to-work schedule. The first time I took a maternity leave, I managed. The second time around, with a toddler and a new baby, I wondered how women had been doing this for decades. There has got to be a better way, I thought.
It was during my second maternity leave I got a call from a professional contact and friend Jen Murtagh. We chatted about the challenges of going from being a high achiever in the office to a milk machine in loungewear. Jen had a similar experience years earlier and shared an idea around how changing the maternity leave reality so many women face. The concept was a program, a roadmap, that supported both women and organisations to talk openly about maternity leave, plan for it and normalize the motherhood experience and the crucial identity shift — both personally and professionally — that happens during the transitions into and out of maternity leave. I was in.
This fall, ideology came to life, and we proudly launched Maturn, Canada’s first comprehensive maternity leave program.
Maturn offers the resources, tools, support and expert advice expectant and new mothers need. It can be initiated by a woman on her own or through her organisation. The program works with women before, during and after maternity leave beginning from the moment a woman finds out she’s expecting whether she’s a birthing mother or not. The tools, frameworks and systems ensure a mother’s career stays on track while supporting their personal wellbeing and the formative experiences of early motherhood.
Maturn offers organizations a concrete tool to build inclusive and equitable cultures by supporting mothers throughout the maternity leave lifecycle and through their transition back to work. We’re seeing proof the world is ready to deliberately invest in mothers. Organisations are ready to commit to their equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts through tangible programs to retain and grow talent.
Jen and I are working to eliminate the motherhood penalty, which so many women experience after having a child. Women with children earn on average 12% less than their childless counterpart and are 8.2 times less likely to be promoted. This demonstrates that our workforces are not currently compatible with having children. We need our populations to grow which requires women having babies. The success of our future depends on mothers. We must create space in our society for women to thrive into motherhood.
Maturn is the first program of its type in Canada. I truly believe the work we’re doing is moving the dial around maternity leave and as a result, advancing gender equity. For me, the gender equity piece is really important and motivating. Instead of rejecting the reality of what will always be, that women will have babies, we should embrace it and support women contributing to our workforces.
Once you welcome a baby, whether by birthing, adoption or otherwise, nothing about you remains the same. You give everything to this little being and in that process can lose some of yourself. Jen and I want Maturn to be a support through every phase of the journey for mothers. We want to create a roadmap that takes the guesswork out. We know the questions to ask, the information women need and the resources available. We are committed to flipping the motherhood penalty on its head to create the motherhood opportunity; that’s why Maturn was born
To learn more about how companies and individuals can benefit from Maturn visit www.maturn.com or connect with us on social media @MaturnCanada. Expectant mothers can download a free Maternity Leave Transition Plan at www.maturn.com/join.