In another two weeks, my postpartum bump would finally deflate most of the way, but that did not mean I was okay.
Can you imagine only getting four weeks of paid leave (𝘪𝘧 you get paid leave) and returning to work when you’re still trying to figure out what your new body and your panicked mind are doing?
In fact, at four weeks postpartum, postpartum depression and anxiety really started to kick my butt. It was when I first suspected this wasn’t just baby blues anymore…that I was having some deep, dark issues.
So can you imagine only getting four weeks of paid leave (𝘪𝘧 you get paid leave) and returning to work when you’re still trying to figure out what your new body and your panicked mind are doing?
Can you imagine basically living out of this bathroom for four weeks—massaging engorged breasts while leaning over to leak into the sink, washing pump parts and bottles between triple feedings and regularly changing out adult diapers too?
Yes, don’t forget the bleeding.
Still bleeding during these four weeks.
Paid leave is not a vacation. Four weeks of it isn’t enough.
And the sobbing.
And the pacing.
And the doctor appointments.
And wondering if you’re ever going to be more than a bottle-washing cow again.
Let alone go back to your (other) job.
For me, all of the physical things didn’t even compare to the mental state I was in, and I just need to reiterate what all moms are agonizingly shouting:
Paid leave is not a vacation.
Four weeks of it isn’t enough.
Can you see now why one in five moms have a perinatal mood/anxiety disorder?
I am lucky I live in a state where I got more than four weeks, but even so, that was still not enough. It took many months to recover from my PPD/PPA and then to truly bond with my baby.
You want the future citizens of this country to take on the problems of this Earth and continue to sustain it? Then why don’t we do this by giving children a good start in life?
It begins with MAMA.
And her mental and physical well-being.
Healthy mama = healthy babies = healthy & prosperous future America.
It’s really that simple.
Keep shouting, mamas.