◎Government to establish a “men’s maternity leave system”!
Big news on a parenting related subject!
The government has decided to establish a “Men’s Maternity Leave System”, which I’ve been working on socially with Yoshie Komuro (@worklifeb) of Work Life Balance, Tae Amano (@Tae_Amano) of miraco, and others!
Here’s an excerpt from the Yomiuri Shimbun.
The government has decided to establish a new leave system for husbands immediately after the birth of their wives to encourage men to participate in childcare. The father’s version of the maternity leave system, which is currently only granted to mothers, and the government is considering making the leave more generous than child-care benefits to curb the decline in household income. The government plans to start designing the system in the fall and submit a draft amendment to the Child Care and Family Care Leave Act and other laws to the ordinary Diet next year. (July 26, 2020)
Thank you, Councilor Rui Matsukawa and Councilor Yoshiaki Wada, who listened to us sincerely and spoke out for the necessity of “men’s maternity leave”!
[Why men need “maternity leave” too]
Why do men need “maternity leave” when they never give birth to a child?
This is closely related to postpartum depression.
Postpartum depression is a condition of extreme sadness and associated psychological disturbance that lasts for weeks and sometimes months after delivery, and occurs in 10-15% of mothers who have given birth*1.
In 2018, a research group from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (lead researcher: Dr. Rintaro Mori, National Center for Child Health and Development)*2
-In a study of 357 pregnant women who died during pregnancy or less than a year after delivery in 2015-2016, the leading cause of death was suicide in 102 cases
92 cases of suicide less than one year after giving birth
This is a shocking figure.
(Source: NHK’s “I want you to know “postpartum depression” – the impact of 92 suicides” https://www.nhk.or.jp/d-navi/sci_cul/2018/09/story/special_180914/
In addition to the sudden drop in hormone levels seen after delivery, factors such as “lack of support from partners and family members” and “stress caused by marital problems, unemployed partners, financial problems, and partner absence” are said to be involved in causing postpartum depression.(*1)
Some overseas studies(*3,4) also conclude that the lack of partner involvement in the care of the infant is strongly related to postpartum depression in mothers.
In order to reduce the tragic cases of mothers taking their own lives after giving birth, it is essential that fathers (or partners) take care of their babies immediately after delivery, which is said to be the most common cause of postpartum depression, to lighten the physical and mental burden on mothers.
For this reason, it is important for both the mother and the father to be able to take maternity leave.
[It’s also an effective way to counteract the declining birth rate]
In addition, maternity leave for men is an effective way to reduce the birth rate.
Research shows that whether or not to have a second or later child is correlated with the amount of time husbands spend raising their first child.
First, data from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare shows that
Only 10% of couples who have a second or later child if the husband does not do any housework or childcare on weekends
On the other hand, 87% of couples who have a second or later child or more if the husband does housework or childcare for six hours or more
We know that this is the case.
(Source: “Work-Life Balance Report 2016” by the Cabinet Office, p.140
The Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet office’s report, “The Impact of Male Childcare Leave on Working Styles, Housework and Childcare Participation, and Marital Relationships,” *5 reports the following.
In terms of timing, the report shows the importance of taking childcare leave ‘immediately after giving birth’ and ‘in conjunction with the wife’s health condition’, as well as ‘spending a long time doing housework and childcare during the leave’ and ‘undertaking various types of housework and childcare’.
The study also found that taking maternity leave to accommodate a spouse’s physical condition increased the individual’s willingness to have an additional child after the second child. The results indicated that the husband’s provision of household and childcare support and emotional support to the wife, as well as to the husband, had an impact on the relationship and the husband, as the wife may not be in good health after the birth.
Furthermore, we found that proactive efforts at housework and childcare during the leave were linked to increased marital relationship satisfaction and motivation to have additional children.
In order to motivate women to have a second child and beyond, it is important for husbands to make a firm commitment to childcare and maintain a good marital relationship during the period immediately after the birth of their first child, when their wives are not in good health.
That’s why we need a man’s maternity leave program!
[Members of Congress, please continue to support us!］
Immediately after giving birth, a woman’s body is fully wounded.
It is truly lonely and painful to be face-to-face with a baby one-on-one for the first time in such a body, constantly breastfeeding, changing diapers, bathing, and getting the baby to sleep. I can understand that such a situation would make you depressed and you wouldn’t be able to think about your second child.
If a mother’s physical condition is at its worst right after giving birth, and her partner is by her side all the time, working diligently on housework and childcare, the burden on her mind and body would be significantly reduced, and the bond between the couple would deepen.
In France, men can take about two weeks of paid maternity leave, consisting of three days of paid maternity leave and 11 days of paternity leave. The system, which began in 2002, is not an obligation but a right, about 70% of fathers take maternity leave*6. In many cases, fathers stay at the hospital while their mothers are in the hospital and learn how to carry their babies, change diapers, bathe, and so on from a nurse*6.
In order to prevent postpartum depression and other tragedies, and to halt the decline in the number of children, it is important for couples in Japan to start raising children together by introducing a “men’s maternity leave system”.
Please continue to promote this, legislators! In order to back up this movement, we need a groundswell of public opinion, so I hope that not only moms and dads, but also men who want to take maternity leave will join us in speaking out!
1 MSD Manual Home Edition “Postpartum Depression
2 National Center for Child Health and Development, “Vital Statistics (Deaths, Births, and Stillbirths) to Current Status of Deaths During and After Pregnancy” (2018)
*3 N Séjourné , M Beaumé, V Vaslot, H Chabrol “Effect of paternity leave on maternal postpartum depression”
4 N. Séjourné ,V. Vaslot, M. Beaumé, N. Goutaudier &H. Chabrol
“The impact of paternity leave and paternal involvement in child care on maternal postpartum depression”
5 Economic and Social Research Institute, Cabinet Office, “Impact of Male Childcare Leave on Working Style, Household and Childcare Participation, and Marital Relationships
6 Nikkei Style, “Men Also Take Maternity Leave: French Men Become Dads in Two Weeks,
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