Stacey Skrysak is a television journalist and writer, and is currently on maternity following the birth of her surviving triplet, Peyton. She shared a heartfelt post on Facebook about postpartum recovery and mother support that everyone needs to read. Motherhood is one of the hardest jobs there is, even though it's also one of the most fulfilling. Every day brings new highs, and new lows. There's really no way to prepare for it, either. You can read all the books in the world, and even spend lots of time with other people's babies before you have your own, and you'll still find yourself floundering at times.
Motherhood, even under the best circumstances and with the most support you can find, is incredibly hard. It can be made even harder when you're not able to take the necessary time to bond with your baby and heal (mentally and physically) from pregnancy and childbirth.
Paid maternity in this country is, hands down, abysmal. Women are forced to return to work within weeks of giving birth, giving themselves no time to actually heal and very little time to enjoy those precious first weeks of their baby's life. Even mothers who are able to take the time they need recognize that it's a rare privilege, and even then, usually not enough time.
Stacey says she's been on maternity leave for six weeks now, and that she couldn't imagine having to head back to work at this time. Unfortunately, as Stacey points out, she's been on leave longer than so many women are able to be away from work - some women have to return to work just a couple of weeks after giving birth. Can you imagine? Just two weeks to heal, to bond with your baby, to figure out how to juggle the feedings and the late nights and try to find some semblance of your former self in this new life? So many woman, Stacey included, are still in physical recovery at six weeks postpartum. They're not getting enough sleep, they're mentally exhausted from caring for a newborn, and they're forced to return to work because they can't afford to take anymore time off. It's a travesty.
Some companies offer compensation for maternity leave; others allow parents to take unpaid leave up to a certain amount of time. Parents are forced to exhaust their vacation and sick days, and still struggle financially to fill in the gaps during those crucial first weeks after a baby arrives. We really need to do better by our moms, and our dads, and all these babies who need their parents home with them. We need to find ways to better support new moms, and new dads, and give them a chance to start off on the right foot on this journey. We need to do better.