Working mom describes how son died on first day of daycare

After the death of her son at daycare, Amber Scorah has written about the ways American culture pressures women to relinquish their roles as primary caregivers too quickly. (Facebook/Amber Scorah)

A working mother of a three-month-old has recalled in the New York Times the harrowing day she dropped her son off at daycare for the first time, after being denied a maternity leave extension, and his death just hours later. Amber Scorah said that she had asked her HR department for two additional months of unpaid leave because she was “uncomfortable” with the idea of putting him in daycare so soon, but was told it was out of the question. “The only option would be to quit,” she writes. Since Scorah and her partner couldn’t afford to give up her health benefits and salary, she opted to use daycare. She stopped back at the nursery on her lunch break, just three hours after dropping him off, and found the staff performing CPR on her son Karl. He was pronounced dead hours later.

Scorah explains that she didn’t write the article to criticize the safety record of daycare, though the staff members failed to check on her baby after noticing him kicking in his sleep, and let him sleep on his side instead of the safer position of on his back. Instead, she wanted to criticize the way American culture forces women to give up their role as primary caregivers so quickly after birth. Scorah’s story, published in the Motherlode blog, sparked a lively debate in the comments over whether women should stay home with young children and be entitled to greater leave policies from companies.

“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,” she writes. “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.”

Karl’s parents have urged people to share their story, and to send an email, Tweet or call their representative to lobby for paid parental leave in the United States.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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