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Kathy Gyngell: Coalition nonsense. No normal woman wants to be back at work two weeks after childbirth


So we are officially in denial of biology. In the immediate postnatal period, a mother has no unique role in the nurturing of her newborn baby.  There is no need for her to breastfeed her newborn; bottled formula or pumped breast milk will do via any other ‘primary carer’.

This is the meaning of the Government’s official policy on shared parenting leave due  to come into effect in April.  It cannot mean anything else.

How craven can ministers get in their deference to feminism? This latest “equality” policy is like insisting the world was created in six days, the literal interpretation of Genesis, in defiance of all we now know about evolution.

But do we see the world’s scientists led by Richard Dawkins up in arms against the ideologically driven “shared parenting” quest that assumes parity of the mother’s and the father’s respective roles in child nurturing and development?

In a word, No.

I would be delighted to hear I am wrong; that there are neuroscientists, paediatricians, child development experts and child psychologists who are outraged by such a denial of scientific knowledge.

Sadly, I have not been confounded so far.

Why shouldn’t parents mutually decide who stays home after birth to look after baby? I can imagine the Fawcett Society and the furious politically correct cry: we need shared parental leave to level the playing field for women in the workplace.

That is also what a top employer told Sky News, who accepted this so-called “need” hook, line and sinker.

Yes, Gaenor Bagley, head of people at accountants Price Waterhouse Cooper, says that allowing couples to share post-baby leave entitlements will take the pressure off for many women, when it comes to taking time out from their careers to have a baby.

“There are lots of dads that do want to take time off,” she assured us. “Current legislation doesn’t make it easy to do that.” Sorry it’s not the problem and it is certainly not the solution.

Sky News might have realised this when the only respectable stay at home “dad” they could find at short notice to illustrate their story – a pristinely and formally attired man playing with his equally pristine baby  (roll on the nappy ads)  – turned out not to be a dad after all. That became clear when he mentioned how great it was that he and his ‘husband’ could now share their work leave.

You’d be forgiven for believing that this wheeze was designed to accommodate gay parenthood. Perhaps it is.

But that’s not what “head of people” Gaenor was on about: “Unless we create that equality, unless we level the playing field, we’re never going to make it equally likely that you’re successful in your career whether you’re a man or a woman.”

Well it is all nonsense of course.  If she had bothered to read the National Childbirth Trust’s latest research this week, she might realise how out of touch she is with the average mother’s concerns.

Of the new mums going back to work surveyed, 77 per cent said it was household finance that was the main reason for their decision. Most had concerns about leaving their child. It confirmed the more extensive and in depth research of Catherine Hakim, the British sociologist who specialises in women’s employment and women’s issues.

Despite feminist claims, she’s shown  that most men and women have different career aspirations and priorities. Men and women often have different life goals. Policy-makers should therefore not expect the same job outcomes.

It is remarkable that 50 years of feminist indoctrination has not quashed women’s instincts and knowledge of what their babies need.

Nor is it rocket science that two weeks after birth, which is what the policy allows, is nowhere near long enough to secure the welfare of the newly delivered mother and baby,  for their health and for their essential and unique relationship.

Only last week, I wrote about the incontrovertible benefits of breastfeeding (not the same as pumped breast milk by the way).  How can a new mum, stressed at the thought of getting her act together to get back to work after two weeks, be in the relaxed frame of mind needed for getting breastfeeding off to a good start?

Those determined to return to work for their careers will do so regardless and have their substitute care in place. They are not the norm.

I agree with Deepak Chopra, contributing editor to Parenting Magazine, on this one: “Those hugs and kisses are a force of nature more powerful than ever thought”, he says.  “Mother-child bonding has evolved to become a complex physiological process that enlists not just our hearts, but our brains, hormones, nerves, and almost every part of our bodies.”

A strong emotional attachment between a mother and her baby helps prevent diseases, boost immunity, nurture language development and even enhance a child’s IQ.

In the shared parenting utopia of those super dads, Nick, Dave and George, all this can be achieved in the first two weeks post partum.  Their wives must be superhuman.

I am sure Mrs Average, who takes six weeks, at the very least, to get her body back to normal after childbirth, can’t wait for April 5th 2015.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngell
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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