The internet can be brutal. We all are aware of that. You simply can become a target of a joke or be made fun of for the simplest thing: for example, sharing your imaginary scenario.
This TikToker recently had a chance to experience this herself. She posted a video where she described how she imagined her maternity leave, and, well, moms on the internet had a field day.
More info: TikTok
Being naive on the internet is one of the things that you should not be at any given time
Image credits: RDNE Stock project (not the actual photo)
TikToker shared her own “Roman Empire”: her future maternity leave, and soon it went viral due to moms on the internet
Image credits: @otalmage
Watch the video here
@otalmage The girlies get it #romanempire #maternity #girls #girl #viral #viralvideo #viraltiktok #fyp #foryou #foryoupage ♬ Hi – temoc
Maternity leave being a vacation is a widely accepted misconception, which should be stopped
The video was posted by TikTok creator @otalmage. On her account, she regularly posts similar content where she expresses her thoughts, usually by text on video, or videos with aspects from her life. This kind of content has gathered her around 171 followers and over 103K likes.
In this viral video, the creator expressed how she imagines her future maternity leave will go. And it is being waited on by her husband, eating unlimited amounts of food and not having to work or even move all day.
This kind of imaginary portrait made moms on the internet lose it from laughter. They joked that someone should inform the woman about the reality of maternity leave. Others called it an “innocent moment” or a “canon event” for the TikTok user.
For more context about maternity leave and misconceptions about it, Bored Panda reached out to a New York-based social worker who specializes in supporting women through life transitions, including the perinatal period, Lauren A. Tetenbaum. Make sure to visit her website and Instagram!
Both specialists highlighted that maternity leave is far from a vacation. After all, taking care of a newborn is incredibly hard work. As Daphne said, “Taking care of a baby is arguably harder than a job with adults who have developed prefrontal cortex functions, don’t need assistance eating or going to the bathroom, and don’t cry for hours due to general dissatisfaction.” Lauren added, “It’s exhausting, overwhelming, and stressful — on a good day!”
Image credits: Monica Turlui (not the actual photo)
And people online agree with these thoughts proposed by our experts. For example, one of the people in the comments mentioned that maternity leave was the lowest part of her life. Doesn’t sound like a perfect vacation, right?
Basically, maternity leave consists of a mother taking care of her very delicate newborn constantly. A new mom has to put her needs aside, which can be very demoralizing for a person. And not to mention various damages a mother’s body experiences during birth that it needs to heal from, in addition to some breastfeeding problems that might come up.
As Daphne described, “She will be bleeding, her lady bits may be recovering from stitches, or she may be healing from severe abdominal surgery. In addition, she may be learning how to breastfeed, and be overwhelmed by the responsibility to keep a tiny new human alive, all while she isn’t sleeping.”
The Mamatorney expressed that maternity leave should not be considered “time off”, as it might make the mother ashamed for not working in a “real job”. “The culprit here is really the culture of working without any breaks, and that the US as a whole bows to the lords of capitalism more than to the magic of life creation.” After all, some even say that maternity is a full-time job that doesn’t have ending hours.
Both experts shared their ideas on how these misconceptions should be addressed. Lauren said “I am a fan of parenting out loud — of sharing experiences as a new parent or parent in general, so that the challenges of it are not kept hidden or stigmatized. I think anyone would find a day in the life of a new parent on maternity leave extremely tiring and like they’ve engaged in hard work.”
Daphne agreed: “Honesty and transparency about the postpartum experience is essential to shift the narrative about maternity leave, and also the support that is required to nurture a new baby.”
Image credits: Pixabay (not the actual photo)
The social worker Lauren pointed out that at least in the US, maternity leave is not even offered: “Only a few states provide for paid leave and it’s limited, so it’s usually up to companies to offer maternity leave through private policies.” In her opinion, paid parental leave should be considered to be a basic human right without any career risks.
Daphne was of a similar opinion. According to her, companies create policies that make getting proper time to take care of your baby very hard: “Employers need to provide education on the interplay of the different rights and policies, so the mothers aren’t overwhelmed trying to figure that out too.”
Lauren added that “parental leave policies should be part of every job. There should be more transparency around them too.” And since families tend to come in a variety of dynamics and formations, parental leave should be accessible to every caregiver, not only the primary one. For example, fathers shouldn’t be looked at as useless parents.
On this topic, Daphne mentioned the family responsibilities for accommodation rights, which is a pending bill in California: “This law would require employers to provide accommodations for family responsibilities. I expect this bill to pass in the next few years, and I would like to see this bill adopted at the federal level.”
So, what we can take from this story is that maternity leave is an experience not talked about enough, to the extent that people form this kind of grave misconception. We all should strive to create a more parental-leave-friendly discourse.
Have you ever had any similar misconceptions like this? Share yours in the comments!