Woman's Emotional Post Calling For A Longer Maternity Leave Praised By Moms Online

Having a baby is a lot of work and takes a toll on women's bodies. Many countries offer women paid "maternity leave" from their jobs to not only recover from childbirth, but spend time with their baby at home.

Countries differ on how much time they offer for maternity leave.

Unsplash | Christian Bowen

Some countries offer more time than others. Additionally, some companies and industries offer more time off than others, too.

The federal government only gives some time off in The United States.

Unsplash | Hollie Santos

The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act gives federal workers up to 12 weeks of "paid maternity leave" where they can still receive pay while they take care of their baby at home.

However, for working parents who are not federal employees, The Family And Medical Leave Act guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for workers. However, only about 60% of workers are eligible for this leave.

Some parents take off more time, unpaid.

Unsplash | Aditya Romansa

For those who can afford it, some parents stay home longer. However, not all new parents can afford to go so long without a paycheck and are forced back to work before they are ready.

One woman recently wrote a heartfelt post about the current state of maternity leave.

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Rachael Larsen shared a photo on LinkedIn where she appears to be incredibly emotional about her return to work after her 12-week maternity leave.

She shared that 12 weeks is just not enough time for new moms.

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"It took me four years to have the courage to share this photo. Even now, it's hard to look at. The shame around raising a family and working full-time is real," she wrote.

She said she and her daughter (who was just a few months old at the time) were both unprepared for her to return to work.

"I took this on my first day back to work after my second daughter was born. I wasn’t ready. My daughter wasn’t ready. She wasn’t sleeping and was extremely fussy," she said.

She was not sleeping through the night.

Unsplash | Abbie Bernet

"I woke up five times the night before to feed her. I was exhausted. As a majority income source for our family, I was forced to suck it up, put on a smile, and get back to work," she continued.

She admits she was "more priviledged" than others, but she still wasn't ready.

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"I know that I am extremely privileged. I was able to have some partial pay during my maternity leave and I was able to take 12 weeks off. I had a job that I loved at an amazing company with great bosses. I had a daycare facility that I could afford with great teachers I trusted.

But… I was not ready," she added.

She claimed many parents need support.

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"We need to do more to support parents and families. It may have taken me four years after I knew I’d never have another baby to share this photo. But, I’m glad that I have the courage to speak my truth now," she wrote.

Many moms appreciated her words and for sharing the photo.

Flickr | ajinkya.k

"I know this pain. I know the faking. I know the pumping in a client's bathroom because there are no private areas. I know leaking through my work blouse. I know aching for my infant. I know bosses and coworkers making snide and threatening comments about my hours, my pumping, my outfit," one mom wrote in reply to Rachael's post.

Others said they share the same feelings.

Unsplash | Lucy Wolski

"I had to return to work after 10 weeks following my second son. He was C-section and went straight to the NICU for 3 weeks and on oxygen for 6 weeks at home. My incredible husband was a grad student at the time. I was no way near ready but I needed to return to work for my family. I completely agree - more should be done to support parents and families," another mom added.

Some were shocked to hear about maternity leave in the U.S.

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"Maternity leave in U.S. was one of the greatest cultural shocks I had to deal with... in Poland the new maternity law was just established giving women 8 months to 2 years paid time with their children. Fathers were also given paternity leave.

I didn’t take a picture on my first day back to work after maternity leave, but it was one of the hardest days in my life... without any exaggeration," one person said.

One mom pointed out that adoptive parents don't get the same maternity leaves.

Unsplash | Benjamin Manley

"I adopted my son. I was at the hospital when he was born. I was not allowed any maternity leave because I did not conceive him. I was allowed to take a week of my earned vacation PTO and then headed back to work. Not ideal, not what I wanted but it was the state law and the hand I was dealt as an adoptive parent.

Parents that choose to adopt should have the same maternity/paternity leave as ‘natural’ parents to bond with their children," the mom said.

Many pointed out that quarantine was "amazing" for new parents.

Unsplash | Kelly Sikkema

"One small benefit of quarantine is the fact I get to spend my whole day at home. Even though I'm working I get to hear her make noises and on my breaks, I get to play with her," one dad added.

It seems that parents all over have maternity leave woes.

Unsplash | Marcos Paulo Prado

From having to go back to work too soon to not having any leave time at all, many of the parents online felt they could relate to this LinkedIn post.

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