By Paurvi Bhatt, STAT, October 19, 2021
As a working daughter, I recently embarked on a new and uncertain phase of my career: taking paid leave for my seriously ill mother. Without children of my own, I never needed to consider paid leave. This new role in caregiving is making me square cultural norms and values engrained in me as a second-generation South Asian immigrant and as a female only child with my senior leadership role in corporate America.
While I’ve juggled responsibilities for years, this one is different. The pandemic sharpened my focus on the importance of care at home. Caregiving at home reinforced lessons learned from my public health training about the fragility of health. Balancing this work became all-consuming and pushed an important decision: My mother had cared for me her entire life, and it was now time for me to care for her.
In the U.S., women, especially women of color, often feel that when faced with the opportunity to care for their loved ones, they must silently deliver exemplary results, no matter their employment status. Caregiving for a loved one is hard enough without the additional mental and emotional strain of knowing you’re expected to do so without complaint or seeking help from others.