This legislative session, I hope Maine creates a strong paid family and medical leave program.

I have multiple chronic health conditions. One, called diastasis recti, makes me prone to hernias. I currently have two unfixed hernias, and one that was fixed in April 2022.

It would have been a game changer if my family had access to PFML. Before surgery, I couldn’t be on my feet more than five minutes without my hernia prolapsing. It caused severe pain and was at risk of getting strangulated. For over a month before surgery, I was completely out of commission.

After the surgery I had an eight-week recovery process, longer than initially expected. In all, I was unable to function regularly for almost three months.

Although my husband was working as a line cook, he had to take unpaid days off before and after the surgery to care for me. We were living off of his minimal paycheck, which put us behind on bills. I also have a 10-year-old with her own health conditions.

PFML could have taken stress off my family. My husband would have been able to take paid time off to take care of our family, instead of being stressed trying to make ends meet. Traveling to doctors’ appointments, ER trips, and my overall recovery would have been much easier.

PFML could have drastically changed this situation for my family, and countless others in the state. I hope people join me in supporting this important legislation.

Roxy Kai, Bryant Pond

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