We should, I think, all welcome the statement made on behalf of Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee that she intends to take her full six months of maternity leave - not just for her own benefit, but to "pave the way" for other female politicians' rights. (At present there is no provision for TDs to take maternity leave, although this is likely to be amended in the near future).
It's absurd that women in the Oireachtas should have to provide a "sick note" when they take time off to have a baby. Pregnancy and childbirth are not, in the normal course of events, an illness. Maternity leave should be an entitlement, supported in all circumstances.
Ms McEntee's approach is in positive contrast to my own generation, giving birth back in the 1970s and 1980s. We vied with one another, if I remember right, to show how little maternity leave we could take.
It was a point of honour to demonstrate that you could pop out a baby without any fuss, and be back at work within a week or so. The idea was to make motherhood as invisible as possible, lest you lose out in the competitive stakes of a career.
Having a baby was seen as a disadvantage which marked women out as less capable or competitive: hormones might go funny; there might be tears in the office; or, horror of horrors, milk-leaking boobs at a business meeting.
"If the baby is unwell, never, ever say so," a seasoned older colleague warned me. "Say you had to stay at home to take a working call from Tokyo." In those days phone calls came on landlines - and Tokyo seemed plausible because it was ahead of our clock (America didn't convince, being behind).
Never let motherhood make you look weak or vulnerable was the message.
Women's liberation back in those days meant liberation from the stereotype of helpless little female subjected by Nature's diktats to menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, childcare, menopause.
Simone de Beauvoir's gospel said you had to bridle Mother Nature, and measure up like a man.
Needless to say Mother Nature often had the upper hand just the same, as motherhood hit us like a thunderbolt, changing our perspectives on so much of life.
To my astonishment I burst into sobs seeing a TV programme about small animals in Africa being hunted - by other animals, prompted, too, by nature.
But in the throes of any maternity leave available to us - and some firms and businesses were generous about it anyway - we were still afflicted by an early form of Fomo: the fear of missing out.
Spending time at home bonding with the baby was a delight, but what was happening in the office in our absence? Who was edging forward for a promotion? Who was getting more career opportunities? Where were the power (or romantic) alignments? Was the corporation itself developing in new directions? What was the gossip post-meetings or conferences?
Petty stuff next to the greater role of nurturing new life, but office politics can matter, as can networking. In these days of lockdown few people go to the office anyway, so office politics will have diminished: yet personal connections always have played a role in a working life and probably always will.
Women have often felt disadvantaged when excluded from all-male arenas - from clubs to pubs - as that was where the schmoozing happened. In Ireland jobs and opportunities were networked through the GAA and the Masonic Order, historically all-male circles.
Obviously, working patterns have changed, professional life is more regulated and perhaps more accountable.
Maternity leave is regarded as a positive good: paternity leave is available, too - although even in progressive Scandinavia men don't always maximise their rights in this.
Parents need time to get to know this new human being, so aptly described in more demure times as "a little stranger".
Motherhood has gained in status, which is great. Mothers are, on average, older and have often deferred childbearing for years - making a baby an even more significant event. The scarcity of babies - fertility is falling all over Europe - is intensifying parenthood, too.
Babies born through assisted conception like IVF come with a huge investment in time, money, hopes, expectations.
And yet I don't think there will ever be a perfectly level playing field between maternity and career, partly because the pull of nature nearly always asserts itself and you want to be with the baby - you may even suffer, physically, if separated.
Partly, it's claimed in a new book by the author Joeli Brearley, because there is still a "motherhood penalty" in a working career: women are still edged out of jobs just because they have babies.
From May, when her bambino appears, Minister McEntee is in for the happiest six months of her life, and in taking her maternity leave she is setting a visible, and excellent, precedent in public life.
She won't have to pretend that a call from Tokyo is more important than attention to her child, because whatever the responsibilities of office, it won't be.