This is truly a heartbreaking story. Amber Scorah wrote an open and honest and sometimes painful to read op ed published in the New York Times where she discussed leaving her 3 month old son Karl at daycare for the very first time, only to return to find him unresponsive and have him later die.
Amber begins the op ed writing about her struggles to leave her son in daycare after her short 3 month maternity leave had expired. Between her and her husband they needed Amber to return to work because of her benefits, as they couldn’t afford to live off her husband’s income alone. Amber writes about asking her company for additional time off unpaid, but they couldn’t accomodate her and told her that her only recourse would be to quit, which she contemplated.
After weighing their options Amber and her husband Lee decided to leave Karl with a reputable daycare near Amber’s work, close enough that she could visit and breastfeed Karl during her lunch break. On is first day in care Amber says she ran to the daycare, expecting to see his happy, chubby cheeks greet her, only to be met with every parent’s worst nightmare.
‘I saw my son unconscious, splayed out on a soft changing table. His lips and the area around his mouth were blue, and the day-care owner was performing CPR on him, incorrectly.’
‘Our sweet son had died two and a half hours after I had left him.’
Oh my heart is breaking! Amber goes on to question why she had to leave her son so early, and wonders, as all of us would, if things would have been different had she been with Karl that day instead of day care workers.
What is determined is that at 11:50 a.m. the day-care assistant saw my baby kicking his legs and brought it to the attention of the day-care owner. The day-care owner dismissed the assistant, telling her not to go over to check him. “Babies kick their legs in their sleep all the time,” she said. Twenty minutes later, my baby was dead. If the day-care assistant had gone over and picked him up, checked on him, would Karl be alive? I don’t know. The day-care owner had also put Karl down to sleep on his side, which is a known unsafe sleep position. Had he been put down on his back to sleep, would he be alive? I don’t know.
Amber is very clear that her reason for writing this op ed isn’t to criticize the daycare or her employer, but to ask why America’s maternity leave policy is so awful.
“What this article is about is that my infant died in the care of a stranger, when he should have been with me. Our culture demanded it. A mother should never have no choice but to leave her infant with a stranger at 3 months old if that decision doesn’t feel right to her. Or at 6 weeks old. Or 3 weeks old. I would have stayed home with Karl longer but there just didn’t seem to be a way. And I knew well enough that a million other mothers in America before me had faced the same choice and done the same, even earlier than I had, though it tortured them emotionally, or physically, to do so.”
I can’t even imagine this. I am a Canadian and we receive 1 full year maternity leave that we can take or we can split with our spouse. I can’t imagine having to return to work after 6 weeks or even 3 months. I can’t believe that the United States hasn’t done more to help new mothers and create a maternity and paternity leave plan that is the best for the parents and the children.
What do you think of this Hot Moms? Do you agree that the maternity leave policy in the US isn’t enough? Does the government need to do more to protect our children? Amber and her husband have created a website, forkarl.com where you can contact your government representative or presidential candidate to ask about family leave options and voice your concerns.
You can read Amber’s entire heartbreaking story here.