In July 2015, 3-month-old Karl died just hours after being dropped off at a New York City daycare for the first time. His mother, Amber Scorah, has decided she’s not just going to grieve — she’s going to turn her tragedy into a campaign for mandatory paid family leave.
“There’s no words really to really describe the horror, and just the disbelief,” Scorah said on “The Today Show” on November 19, 2015.
First Lady, Michelle Obama, was so touched by the story that she sent a letter of sympathy to the Brooklyn Heights mom, and the cause has since been taken up by White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, who is partnering with Spotify to call for states to legislate mandatory paid family leave.
Scorah says she is not criticizing her employer, who gave her three-months paid leave. However, the fact that so few — only 12 percent of private sector workers — have access to paid family leave through their employer is at the heart of her campaign.
“I wasn’t just up against the end of my parental leave, I was up against an entire culture that places very little value on caring for infants and small children,” she writes in a post for The Motherlode.
She goes on to explain that infant death could be reduced by parental leave, and that women would be healthier and more well-adjusted, and more likely to stay in the workforce. “If we truly valued the 47 percent of the work force who are women, and the value of our families, things would look different.”
Scorah’s cause has gained much deserved news coverage, even making its way into the 2016 presidential debates. Though Republican Carly Fiorina is opposed to any kind of mandated paid maternity leave, calling it “hypocritical,” Democrat Hillary Clinton says, “We need to recognize the incredible challenges that so many parents face, particularly working moms.”
Scorah recently launched ForKarl.com, in an effort to help spread the word and give people a chance to voice their support for paid parental leave in the United States.
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