This Mom Wants to Help You Crowdfund the Maternity Leave You Deserve

Moms who aren't given paid maternity leave have turned to crowdfunding to help them swing things financially—and this new company aims to help them.

So many mothers are faced with impossible choice after they welcome their babies: They can take some time away from work to log essential time with their newborns...or they can return to work right away, while their bodies are still healing and their babies still need round-the-clock care, just so they can put food on the table every night.

Women in the U.S. are legally entitled to 12 weeks of time off when they welcome their babies, but we also happen to be one of the only developed nations that doesn't legally mandate employers give their workers paid time away from work—and not receiving a paycheck for 12 weeks is simply not an option for so many mothers out there.

That's what inspired Margi Scott, a Minnesota-based mother of four, to found her company, Take 12, which helps moms-to-be "register" for their maternity leave. When she got pregnant with her third and fourth children (who happen to be a set of twins), Scott was her family's breadwinner—and she realized she would need to "do some serious financial planning" to ensure she could take time away from work. "My salary was absolutely necessary for our family," Scott told Fit Pregnancy. Though her company offered disability benefits, Scott knew it would be incredibly tough to swing the finances...especially after she was diagnosed with acute fatty liver of pregnancy, a rare liver disease that required an emergency C-section and left her twins in the NICU.

Scott's mom suggested she start a crowdfunding page to cover her expenses, something other moms have done in the past. "Thousands of women are actually crowdfunding their own maternity leaves," Scott said. "I realized [I could create] a platform where not just any random stranger could come on comment and say 'you should go on welfare' or 'if you can't afford to have children, don't reproduce.' Those are all real comments that are on these women's pages. People really don't understand the gravity of the situation, that women's salaries are essential to a family's survival these days."

So Scott created Take 12, a company that, in many ways, marries the idea of crowdfunding with the concept of a baby registry. Moms-to-be can register for increments of time and set dollar amounts for each registry item—a great idea as a shower gift, perhaps, especially as people don't seem to slam families who register for new strollers or onesies ahead of a baby's arrival. Turning it into a registry might help de-stigmatize the nature of requesting some essential financial help. 

"Someone can actually gift you $100 for your visit to the NICU. So that's kind of the registry piece—gifters can feel like 'Ok, that's where this money is actually going' and it's just a cute way to kind of personalize it," Scott explained.

Though Take 12 is still in its newborn stage (no pun intended!), the feedback has been largely positive. "It's okay to ask for what you need instead of just the stuff people expect you to register for," Scott said. "I don't want it to feel like a typical crowdfunding site—I want it to be more of an empowering product where women feel like [they're] taking this matter into [their] own hands."