Photos: New mothers suffer nerves, guilt as maternity leave ends

Photos: New mothers suffer nerves, guilt as maternity leave ends

Evelin Naranjo, a teacher at a kindergarten, holds her one-year old daughter Victoria in the week she went back to work, in Las Tunas, Cuba. Statutory maternity leave in Cuba is one year and it can be taken by either mother or father. Evelin was off for 52 weeks. “It’s a huge effort for me not to be able to see my daughter due to my work, but I do it for her own good,” she said. (Fernando Medina / REUTERS)

Marlena Mucha, her husband and sons Borys, 4, and Julek, 1, at their apartment in Warsaw, Poland. In Poland, an employed woman can take to 52 weeks of paid leave after the birth of a child, and be paid around 80% of her salary. “For the first month I will work only 4-5 hours daily. This way the process of leaving my son, will be more gradual. So I will have some time to get used to it,” Marlena said. (Kacper Pempel / REUTERS)

Nahla Mohamed Abdel Rahman, a professor of applied arts, holds her three-month-old baby Younis, in her first week back at work, in Cairo, Egypt. By Egyptian law, mothers can take between three and four months off paid maternity leave, and up to two years unpaid leave. Fathers cannot take any paternity leave. Nahla goes to work five days a week and her sister takes care of her baby as nurseries are too expensive for her. (Hayam Adel / REUTERS)

Tatiana Barcellos, a civil servant, her eight-month-old daughter Alice, and her husband, on the day Tatiana resumed work, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Statutory leave for mothers in the public sector is 120 to 180 days.”I feel anxious and worried that my absence will cause stress to my baby. I think mothers should have at least one year of maternity leave, considering the physical and emotional needs of babies in full development”, she said. (Pilar Olivares / REUTERS)

Blanca Eschbach with her daughter Olivia on her first day back at work after a 10-week maternity leave in San Antonio, Texas. “I’m just now getting…to know her and her routine and her cues, and now I have to turn her over to these strangers to help me raise her while I’m at work”, Blanca said. “I feel like I’m…missing out on her during this very important time.” The US does not guarantee paid family leave to its citizens. (Callaghan O’Hare / REUTERS)

Lucie Sol, a social worker, her boyfriend, and their 22-week-old baby Lena Amelie, in Purmerend, Netherlands. Statutory maternity leave in the Netherlands is between 10 to 12 weeks. “It was just getting better to breastfeed but still my whole world was upside down,” Lucie said. She took an extra three months off, extending her leave to 27 weeks. “I feel bad leaving her behind… It comes with a lot of guilt,” Lucie said. (Eva Plevier / REUTERS)

Ferzanah Essack, a software developer, her husband and their 4.5-month-old baby Salma in Cape Town, South Africa. State law allows mothers four months of maternity leave although employers are not obliged to pay for it. Ferzanah said six to seven months would be more reasonable. Grandparents will now be taking care of Salma. “We pay in love and kisses”, she said. “With lots of love, because it’s the grannies.” (Sumaya Hisham / REUTERS)

Jenny Shrestha, a supervisor at Prime Commercial Bank LTD, holds her three-months-old son Aayan with family, in the week she resumed work in Kathmandu, Nepal. Jenny was on a maternity leave for two months. The statutory leave in Nepal is 98 days. “I fell very sad because… it’s very hard to leave him”, Jenny said. She said her mother and sister will help take care of her baby. (Navesh Chitrakar / REUTERS)

Ana Huanca, her six-week-old baby Luciana, her elder daughter Anabel, 5, and husband Luis, at their food shop in La Paz, Bolivia. In Bolivia, mothers are entitled to 15 days of maternity leave before they give birth and 45 days after they’ve given birth. However Ana and Luis are among the majority of Bolivian workers who have no regular jobs which would entitle them to benefits like maternity leave. (David Mercado / REUTERS)

Public relations account director Peiru Ng, with her husband, their two-and-a-half year old daughter Faith and 12-week-old son Scott in Singapore. Singaporean mothers are by and large entitled to 16 weeks of paid maternity leave while fathers are allowed two weeks of leave. Peiru chose to end her maternity leave after 12 weeks. “Having my work is like having me time. I feel that work makes me a better mum,” she said. (Feline Lim / REUTERS)

Natalia Bulgakova, a lawyer at a consulting company, her husband, and their seven-month-old son Gleb in Moscow, Russia. Natalia has been on maternity leave for nine months and is going back to work in second half of March. Statutory maternity leave in Russia can be as long as three years and can be claimed by any relative – a mother, father, grandmother, grandfather or child’s guardian. (Maxim Shemetov / REUTERS)

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