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Yahoo CEO's Decision To Take Short Maternity Leave Sparks National Conversation

WOODLAND HILLS ( — Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has announced that she's pregnant with identical twins, but says she plans to take a limited time away from the job.

Her decision to take a short maternity leave sparked a spotlight Tuesday on the nation's maternity leave policy and the pressures felt by working mothers.

"I was back in my office a week and a half later," says first-time mom Maryam Ayam, who gave birth to her son three months ago.

As a business owner, Ayam explains that she had a stressful pregnancy and was still working from her hospital bed before she delivered.

Three years ago, Mayer made headlines for taking just two weeks off after the birth of her son.

She announced via Twitter that she's expecting again.

In a blog post, Mayer wrote: "Since my pregnancy has been healthy and uncomplicated and since this is a unique time in Yahoo's transformation, I plan to approach the pregnancy and delivery as I did with
my son three years ago, taking limited time away and working throughout."

"I just hope that women aren't held to that standard because I think it's whatever you feel comfortable with," Ayam said.

Her decision has once again sparked a national conversation, with some praising her dedication to the job, and others fearful that she's setting an unrealistic example for working moms.

"Young girls are raised today to be well educated and to pursue careers that appeal to them but they're also led to believe that when it comes time to have a family, that they'll be able to balance both family and work and that nothing will give. It's not the case. Something has to give," Lauren Wallenstein, a maternity leave expert, said.

Wallenstein owns a business designed to help women maximize their maternity benefits.

"It's a shame that everyone in this country is not entitled to some of the same benefits that people throughout the world are," she said.

In 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor released staggering statistics that show that only 12 percent of U.S. workers reported having paid maternity leave.

Ultimately, Wallenstein says it's unrealistic to compare the maternity leave of a Fortune 500 CEO with that of an average worker.

"Women are not allowed to bring their children to work. They don't necessarily have the budget to provide for child care. It's a very different story for them," Wallenstein said.

Mayer is due in December.

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