By: Serach Nissim
A woman devastated by a stillbirth delivery and denied paid family leave, says the law should be changed.
Cassidy Crough, 34, lost her daughter Olivia at 36 weeks when the umbilical cord became wrapped around the child’s neck. Crough gave birth on March 17, after 16 hours of labor, but the child was stillborn. “I still gave birth to a human being. I am still suffering all the postpartum symptoms that every other female does, the heavy bleeding, the depression, not being able to lift heavy objects,” she said.
As reported by the NY Post, Crough slammed the New York state law to deny stillbirth mothers family leave time. “Their approach to this is thoroughly demoralizing and disgusting,” said Crough, who is a former Bronx assistant district attorney and who had just begun a new job with a private law firm in Hudson Valley. “I was just on a high, thinking how thankful I was, how excited I was to meet her and be her mom,” recalled Crough. But about a month before her due date, she asked for asked for fetal monitoring and an ultrasound confirmed that there was no heartbeat. They were rushed to the hospital for induced labor. Crough lamented about the nightmare of needing to worry about preparing a funeral instead of welcoming the baby home to her prepared “Pinterest perfect” nursey.
As per the Post, she said she was ill prepared days later when the insurance company called to ask her to voluntarily withdraw her request for maternity leave — because the baby was stillborn. They offered short term disability instead, which pays just $554 in total and with only six weeks off. New York State’s Paid Family Leave, which applies only to parents who are “bonding” with their baby, pays about $1,000 per week.
Only eight states in America have paid family leave laws at all, and only one, the District of Columbia, includes stillbirth and miscarriages, as per the National Partnership for Women and Families. “In our eyes we’re still moms, whether New York State recognizes us as moms. My daughter was real,” she said. She said she refused to withdraw her request for maternity leave and is living off savings and help from family. Crough said she has contacted several NY politicians about changing the paid family leave law. “This is a huge gap in the law. I just want women and families of stillbirth and infant loss babies to not have to suffer like we have,” she said. Roughly 1 out of 170 pregnancies in this country end in stillbirth.