After Luna Bell was born, I took about seven weeks off; partially to recover from the C section and mostly to spend every moment I could at the hospital with my baby. At some point, her homecoming date was so uncertain, I was afraid that I was going to use up all my maternity leave time and not have any available when she actually came home, so I went back to work. Between the time I had saved and the time that I accrued over the next 3 months, I had about 3 weeks available to take off, saving about 20 hours for taking time off for doctors appointments and the occasional needed day off. So now that Luna Bell was home, I was on the clock. Only three weeks to try to get her into a little bit of a schedule, get her used to being home, us getting used to her being home, and hopefully do everything I could to make things easier for Kevin while he stayed home with her every day.
Let me just say, that the American system or should I say, lack thereof, for maternity and paternity leave is thisclose to criminal. You hear of women taking off huge amounts of time after their babies are born and think that is the way it should be for all new moms, but sadly that isn’t the case. Some companies offer amazing maternity leave packages, some women take short term disability for extra time, some file FMLA and get paid a fraction of what they normal earn, but most of us hoard our PTO, and fortunately I also had EIB (Extended Illness Benefits) that I could draw from. But unfortunately I was only going to have 3 weeks with my daughter once she got home. The fact that EVERY developed country in the world has amazing maternity/paternity benefits so that moms and dads can take care of their new babies and each other and themselves at such a crucial time and America can’t seem to get it together and do what is right for families is just unreal. Why is it that the politicians that want to “do” for Americans can’t seem to win over the politicians that want to “do” for corporations. Why the hell do we keep screwing ourselves over? If every new mom and dad were able to take off even 4 months after a new baby comes into the family without worrying about losing their job or losing pay or losing their benefits and just focus on bonding with their new child, establishing a “schedule” and let mom heal, what an amazing thing that would be. So, I’m begging all Americans to think about this when you elect your local representatives and the President in November. There has been a clear option in the last presidential election and in the one coming up, and somehow not everyone sees it, even though he is offering to make all of our lives easier. Here’s my political view; #FeeltheBern #Bernie2020
During the three weeks I had to spend at home with my little girl, we visited with family, not in a hospital room, but in their homes and our home. She and I took naps together, we played and watched “Friends” together. I swear that she recognized the theme song from “Friends” from all the times we watched it while I was pregnant. And then, just like that, three weeks was over. It was a Sunday night and I had to go back to work the next day. We had spent part of the day with Kevin’s brother, Derek and his girlfriend, Sarah and their sweet little boy, Ryan. Ryan and Luna Bell are obsessed with each other, something that has continued to this day! Ryan, Derek and Kevin were playing with Luna Bell in the bedroom and Sarah and I were talking in the living room. Sarah asked how I was feeling about going back to work and I burst into tears. I couldn’t imagine not being at home with her and the impending back to work day was weighing so heavy on my heart.
After Derek, Sarah and Ryan left, the rest of the day was a complete shitshow. I went to sleep next to Luna Bell and Kevin angry that the night before one of the most difficult days for me was spent in such a frustrating way. I was crying at the thought of going to work the next day and then the gratefulness of the fact that my daughter was finally home came bursting through and I had to just be happy about that. I had to set aside the anger and frustration once again so that my daughter didn’t feel that energy from me. She was still fragile and recovering and getting used to her new normal too, and she didn’t need that from me. So, tomorrow would begin another new phase in this journey, I was not prepared at all, but I was thankful for the three weeks. #