Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/worried-girl-woman-waiting-sitting-413690/

I’m sorry mama – Ode to unpaid maternity leave in the U.S.

I’m sorry mama.

I’m sorry you have to pretend like you’re not exhausted. Fake that you aren’t barely scraping by. Put on a fake smile. I’m sorry you are burning with anger over the injustice of going there. That maternity leave was unpaid, to whip out your credit card for the doctor.

 

To be expected to recover physically and mentally from birthing a baby in three months is BULLSHIT.

Then you are evil if you can’t lactate and feed your baby.

To feel guilty even though you’ve been set up to fail.

That in the U.S. it’s recommended you breastfeed for 6 months.  You’re expected to go back to work after 3 months. Struggling with the pain of latching or lack thereof.

 

Being forced to feel the lack or like you aren’t enough.

I’m sorry mama, that at work you must to be afraid to take lactation breaks for fear that people will think you are ‘relaxing’.

 

How are you supposed to relax then to let the milk flow? Yeah because that toilet flushing really helps you relax, doesn’t it?

 

Away from your precious baby whilst your hormones are raging from little sleep.

You better perform, perform mama, be perfect and smiling when people tell you “to smile”.

Resist the urge to punch them in the face because they have no idea how you feel.

I’m sorry you have to come home from a long day, unpack your things after dealing with brutal rush hour traffic to a screaming baby at 5 pm fussy hour.

 

Try to figure out dinner or give your spouse a break when you have none either.

 

Right. Your break is “pumping”, let’s not forget that. When you’ve been told what to do all day.

I’m sorry mama , that you can’t even fucking complain about the unpaid maternity leave. Cuz ya know, lest your name be magically added to the “lay off” list, if you do.

 

You’re being forced to stuff your still healing body into clothes and decorate your face with makeup. Then to be frightened at just how dark the dark circles under your eyes are.

 

I’m sorry mama that no one asks how you are doing, really, how are you doing?!? It’s the baby or the to do list or the finances, or the food shopping, or the cooking or the cleaning. How are YOU?

 

You anger cannot be soothed and told you aren’t alone right now, in this space, in this place. If you did voice it, who knows? CPS might be called on you.

 

Nevermind that feeling angry over legitimate injustice at society is totally valid.  That’s not postpartum depression mama. It’s healthy anger that’s forced into sadness because women can’t ‘be angry’.

I’ll be your encouraging voice to help you with this sacred transition that is your body and your life changing.

It’s a new normal that you must adjust to. You are strong. You can battle whatever comes up.

It’s okay to drop the act and stop pretending to have it all together. Or let yourself be angry for crying out and being ignored.

 

I’m sorry that people say they’ll babysit or help or “like” your things on Facebook but not one shows up to be in your tribe or to actually help you with anything.. Or just gives you more work or asks you to take pictures of the baby more.

I’m sorry mama, for people that act like kids are a burden. They have no idea the birth rate in the U.S. is the lowest it’s been in 30 years.

Nevermind your “annoying” children will pay for their retirement. They will benefit from your sacrifices. In the meantime you have to suffer from all their judgment and misunderstanding.

 

You win because you have your beautiful child in this world. You are a warrior woman. Period.

I’m sorry that you can’t tell them all to fuck off mama, because really, you should be able to.

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