PETALING JAYA: A wife needs a husband more than ever after giving birth. And this comes from the horse's mouth!Rizwana Bashir Ahmad, 34, said she was lucky to have her husband with her in the first two weeks after giving birth to their first child.
However, she said the situation turned out to be challenging when her husband returned to work.
"I had my baby through a C-section, so my recovery period was extended. The pain was unbearable during the first two weeks, and it was my husband who managed things and looked after our daughter.
"However, after two weeks, he had to return to work. He came back at night tired and needed to rest. And that is when I started to struggle physically, mentally and emotionally.
"I feel the one-week paternity leave is not enough because it is not fair to the woman who just gave birth. She needs time and space to heal and recover emotionally, physically and mentally.
"I suffered post-partum depression because I could not handle my emotions when my husband had to go back to work.
"I felt the lack of support. I know everyone else was there for me but it wasn't the same as having your husband because caring for our children is a shared responsibility.
"When your husband takes over, as a mother you can rest peacefully knowing that you are not putting the burden on anyone else," said the food production manager.
Nabihah Hamid said her husband Shah Mohd, 34, had no choice but to resign when his application for three weeks of unpaid leave was rejected.
"He planned to take annual leave for a week, and three weeks of unpaid leave to take care of me since I was going for my third C-section. Unfortunately, his unpaid leave was rejected.
"I had no one else to help because my mother was unwell, so he decided to leave his job last January," said the online seller.
Nabihah, who has three children, said a husband's support especially during confinement is crucial.
"Seven days should be enough for the husband to handle matters related to hospitalisation or in case of other emergencies, but ideally, (they) need at least two weeks depending on the mother's and child's condition.
"The first week after birth is very important. We have check-ups for jaundice, and we also have to take care of our other children.
"Moral support for the mother is also important during the confinement period," she added.
Joining the "new mum's club" recently was Subang Jaya assemblyman Michelle Ng Mei Sze, who welcomed the move to increase paternity leave.
The mother of a three-week-old son hoped that consideration would be given to increase paternity leave in the future.
"Today's society recognises both a father and mother's role in raising a child.
"Support is most critical in both the mother's first postpartum week and a newborn's early days.
"The mother has just gone through the most painful and gruelling experience her body will put her through. She needs time to rest and heal.
"On the other hand, the demands of a newborn are numerous – round the clock feeding, several diaper changes in a day, soothing, bathing – the list goes on.
"It is difficult for a mother to attend to these demands and heal. This is where a father's support is needed.
"Personally, as a first-time mother, I would like to have my husband around longer – that perhaps is a policy consideration for the future," said the first-term assemblywoman.
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