If you have eyes and an internet connection you’ve undoubtedly seen Meghann Foye’s editorial and novel about wanting Me-ternity leave. And how much the world who has actually given birth or begun raising an adopted child HATES HER AND WANTS HER TO SUFFER AS MUCH AS WE HAVE. *ahem* Sorry. Got a little heated there.
You can’t really help but get UNBELIEVABLY IRATE at this woman, who calls maternity leave “a socially mandated time and space for self reflection.”
Anyway, that got me to thinking about those halcyon days of my own immediately postpartum period. What would have been my socially mandated time and space for self reflection had I been employed outside of the home. I bottle fed exclusively. I had a good sleeper (as much as a newborn can be.) I had a husband who was very supportive. I had family in town and emotional and psychological and physical help and all the positives I possibly could. I still almost died afterwards and honestly? Those months immediately following Buddy’s birth were by far the worst of my life and I literally throw up whenever I think about feeling like that again.
So here were some of the perks of MY maternity leave:
1.) Well, don’t forget, you’re usually recovering from either having major abdominal surgery or pushing a fully formed human being out of a hole that…well, you know. Either way, unpleasant! Super, super not fun. I had a relatively “easy” birth, in that I had an epidural, and minimal complications (who wants to hear about the degree of tears my vagina suffered? No one? Especially not my dad who reads this? Okay. Moving on…) and IT STILL HURT LIKE A MOTHERF—–. FOR SERIOUS.
That thing. IS HUGE.
And even if you’re not a biological parent, learning how to care for a new child is unbelievably difficult as well. I’ve done that as well, with Squeaks. It’s no picnic even though, granted, your vagina is less sore.
Also your boobs hurt less. Probably. I got pregnant like six minutes after my wedding so my boobs hurt a lot by the time I got home and was taking care of Squeaks all the time. So I guess I don’t know.
2.) You learn how to breastfeed or bottle feed all sorts of fun places.
I don’t know about this Meghann chick, but I did not find the dragging around of formula, water, bottles, and I don’t even remember what else constantly because babies are hungry ALL THE TIME terribly calming and lending itself to a lot of meditation on myself and my career path.
I look super meditative don’t I?
3.) You get to go out and about with your baby.
I’m trying to remember what I was doing here and I honestly can’t. I recognize the floor but I don’t even know where I was. And from the look on my face, I didn’t care.
Yep. I definitely wanted to kill myself by this point.
4.) Your husband may also do some self-reflection and develop a pathogenic staph infection on his chin that prevents you from even coming close to his face for a good month. From stress.
Yes. Having a baby with you is the most stressful thing your recently widowed husband has ever been through.
Reflect on that, bitch.
5.) Other people get to cuddle with your baby a lot. Mostly because you don’t want anything to do with them. I know this is not universal, but for me it totally was. My mom and my sister took care of Buddy most of the time because I literally could not care about anything in the world at all.
I mean, it’s not that I didn’t care, it’s just that I was having all that time for self reflection. I’m sure that was it. It only FELT like crushing depression.
6.) You get the chance to celebrate all of life’s celebrations in a totally normal way.
Here I am on my 26th birthday, about two months after Buddy was born. Yep. Party party party, am I right?
That dead look in my eyes and the fact that I don’t even notice that my baby is falling over is totally because of all of the self-reflection I was doing.
Overall, my maternity leave was mostly me looking like this:
Hemorrhaging, internal organs starting to seize, boobs leaking, feeling like death, trying to either feed or burp the child that totally did not want to do either on the anniversary of your husband’s wedding to someone else.
That’s what maternity leave felt like.
So many perks, right, ladies?