Mom Turns to Crowdfunding to Cover Unpaid Maternity Leave

It's no secret that the U.S. isn't where it needs to be in terms of granting its citizens maternity leave—so women are taking matters into their own hands.

Mom Turns to Crowdfunding to Cover Unpaid Maternity Leave Shawn House Lechette/GoFundMe

Only 12 percent of Americans (excluding those who work for the government) have access to paid parental leave, according to Buzzfeed. Let that sink in for a minute—88 percent of people don't have that support and stability during those crazy, overwhelming, wonderful first few months with a new baby. Laura Lechette is a member of that 88 percent, and she decided to do something about it.

Laura and her husband, Shawn, turned to crowdfunding to cover the costs of, you know, living and raising their child. They aren't the only ones to do it either: a search for the term "maternity leave" yields over 1,300 results on GoFundMe, which is the platform the Lechettes chose to use.

"We definitely looked into other sources of funds for maternity leave, but none were available to us," Shawn said. He works in retail and Laura is a veterinary technician. Laura's workplace suddenly changed their leave policy, according to Buzzfeedthey originally gave employees up to two weeks of paid leave time and Laura planned to use this allotment as her maternity leave, but quickly changed it so that employees accrued vacation and sick days starting at the top of the year. Laura had only eight hours of paid time off by the time her due date rolled around.

Crowdfunding is a popular solution for entrepreneurs and creatives who are looking to build companies or launch projects—but personal finance campaigns are gaining steam, especially on platforms like GoFundMe, GiveForward, YouCaring and Generosity.

It seems as though the crowd the Lechettes hoped to reach was responsive to their request—the couple gained $1,500 through their crowdfunding efforts. Now, here's our question: Would you ever look to crowdfunding to solve the financial woes that come with welcoming a new family member? The fact that so few people have adequate parental leave benefits is problematic and if it doesn't change soon, crowdfunding to cover childcare costs might become the new normal.