If you’re a human being who has welcomed a child into your home at some point, you realize what a huge impact those first days, weeks, and months have on your life. Everything is turned upside down, no one is sleeping, hormones are fluctuating, and honestly, you’re wondering what the heck you’ve done to yourself.
But in the States, you get zero paid time off to get your feed under you and bond with your infant, two things that are not only necessary to continuing on, but benefit both mother and child for an entire lifetime.
People have to use their paid time off, or they have to take FMLA (if the qualify) and not get paid, they have to quit one job and hope they get another one 3-4 months later, or they just…don’t take time off.
They have a baby, take the couple of days they can afford, and then get back to work.
Which, if you’ve brought home a newborn, you know is insane.
If you haven’t, and you’re wondering what all the fuss over maid maternity leave is about, mom Rachael Larsen is here to break it down.
In her viral LinkedIn post, she shares that on the day she was return to work after having her baby, she wasn’t ready.
The baby wasn’t ready.
Yet, there she was going to work because they needed the money. No choice.
It took me four years to have the courage to share this photo. Even now, it’s hard to look at. The shame around raising a family and working full-time is real. I took this on my first day back to work after my second daughter was born.
I wasn’t ready. My daughter wasn’t ready. She wasn’t sleeping and was extremely fussy. I woke up five times the night before to feed her. I was exhausted.
As a majority income source for our family, I was forced to suck it up, put on a smile, and get back to work.
Yes, she was more privileged than most, able to take 3 months off with at least some of her pay during that time.
It wasn’t enough.
I know that I am extremely privileged. I was able to have some partial pay during my maternity leave and I was able to take 12 weeks off.
I had a job that I loved at an amazing company with great bosses. I had a daycare facility that I could afford with great teachers I trusted.
But… I was not ready.
Because of how women are judged, how we’re raised to just suck it up and not talk about it, she waited four years to have the courage to post.
We need to do more to support parents and families. It may have taken me four years after I knew I’d never have another baby to share this photo. But, I’m glad that I have the courage to speak my truth now.
Now that she has, women everywhere are thanking her, and applauding her – even though they shouldn’t have to,
Women should be financially able to stay home with their new babies for as long as it takes for everyone to settle in – in the majority of European countries, the time off with full pay is at least nine months.
I’ve got to think that we can do better here, too.