Silly. First, lots of families can and do afford it. In fact, 37% of mothers with kids under 18 do not work outside of the house. The number would be **WAY** higher if it weren't for the fact that 46% of babies are now born out of wedlock. It's kind of hard to be a stay-at-home mom when you're cranking kids without a spouse around. Second, a good portion (I have no idea how many) of corporations and government entities offer short-term disability policies that cover maternity leave. In my experience (including my last three employers), the ST disability policies are offered free-of-charge to the employee and usually cover 80% of their salaries while out on maternity leave. In other cases (like Federal government employees), the employees have the option of buying the policies for a relatively small fee.