The Wider Image: New mothers suffer nerves, guilt as maternity leave ends
Lucie Sol, 32, a social worker, her boyfriend, Rudie Jonkmans, 34, a cook, and their 22-week-old baby Lena Amelie pose for a photograph inside their house on the first day Lucie went back to work, in Purmerend, the Netherlands, February 18, 2019. The statutory maternity leave in the Netherlands is between 10 to 12 weeks. "It's crazy. After 10-12 weeks it was just getting better to breastfeed but still my whole world was upside down," Lucie said. She took an extra three months off, extending her leave to 27 weeks in total. Rudie received two days of official paternity leave, but took three extra weeks of holiday time to be with his family. Paternity leave in the Netherlands has been extended this year, to a maximum of five days, but that improvement came too late for Rudie as his daughter was born in 2018. "I feel bad leaving her behind. She's only 5.5 months old so I want to keep her close. It comes with a lot of guilt," Lucie said. She believes maternity leave should be at least one year long. "The Netherlands is a very rich and advanced country, but when it comes to maternity leave we are quite behind", Lucie said. REUTERS/Eva Plevier SEARCH "MOTHERS GLOBAL" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES.