My wife and I both work and our mothers take care of our kids during the day. My mother needed a kidney transplant last year and so she couldn’t keep taking care of my then 2-year-old son. With a second baby on the way we were in a really tight jam and I had to start taking sick days one day a week to pick up the slack left by my mother.

We were constantly worrying about whether we’d use up our small amount of sick days on child care and then not be able to take time off when the baby came. Fortunately, we were able to cobble something together, but I’m absolutely horrified when I think about people without paid leave trying to do the same thing we did. And I still wish that I as the father had been allowed to take paid time off to stay home and support my wife in the early days of our second son being born.

We need a robust program of Paid Family and Medical Leave so that some of the most vulnerable members of society – mothers and their newborn babies – get the care that they deserve. Putting in that investment in the first months of life is sure to manifest in benefits down the road as a stronger, healthier population.

Lucas Walker, Fairfield