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Why Europe Isn't the Best Place for Working Moms

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You would think that with things like paid leave and mandatory rest periods, having a baby in Europe would be much better than doing so in America, but that isn't necessarily the case.

Sure, it can be tough on this side of the pond when you are pregnant, especially considering the lack of paid maternity leave and high expense of child care. But it may be that in Europe, you've got no choice other than to take the time off, and it's not all it's cracked up to be.

MORE: How to Ask for Maternity Leave

Using Austria as an example, the New York Post reports on life as a Viennese mother and why some of the perceived perks may set working moms up for a tougher time.

There's something called "Mutterschutz" ("mother support") in Austria that guarantees partially paid, two-year family leave, following a fully paid period of 16 weeks for maternity leave, with the lawful mandate that women must stop work two months before their due date, and can't go back to work until two months after the birth of their child. It's up to them to take the extra two years.

MORE: 5 Tips for Preparing for Maternity Leave

All that time off may seem great, but it's really a mixed bag, as the Post explains. For starters, the social-security-financed Mutterschutz may decrease the chance of a young, married woman getting hired for fear she may take the full two years off after her 16 weeks of paid maternity leave if she does become pregnant.

Furthermore, attitudes in Austria that women should be home with their children prevail once a woman has a child, a notion that is often supported by the mandatory time a mother must take off prior to and after the birth of her baby.

MORE: How to Manage My Time After Maternity Leave Is Over

Then there is the legal requirement that a women must tell her boss that she is pregnant, and provide medical documentation to prove it, which would never fly in the U.S. Not to mention how horrible it would be to then tell your boss if you had a false positive or miscarriage.

So before you pine for pregnancy in Europe, consider how seemingly progressive policies meant to aid pregnant women and working mothers may actually hinder them.

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