August 14, 2019

Paternity Leave Was Crucial After the Birth of My Child, and Every Father Deserves It

When I was born in 1983, my father took a single day off work. He used a vacation day.

When my wife, Serena Williams, gave birth to our daughter Olympia in 2017, I took 16 weeks of paid paternity leave — which was the policy at Reddit, the company I co-founded and led at the time.

Before Olympia was born, I had never thought much about paternity leave and, to be honest, Reddit’s company policy was not my idea. Our vice president of people and culture, Katelin Holloway, brought it up to me in a meeting and it sounded O.K., so why not?

Then came Olympia, after near-fatal complications forced my wife, Serena, to undergo an emergency C-section. Serena spent days in recovery fighting for her life against pulmonary embolisms. When we came home with our baby girl, Serena had a hole in her abdomen that needed bandage changes daily. She was on medication. She couldn’t walk.