Let’s talk about paid maternity leave. I’m wearing a two-week-old newborn that started daycare today. It is not uncommon for a mother to start her newborn in daycare at just two or three weeks old. A mother’s body isn’t even remotely healed that soon after giving birth. A newborn isn’t even remotely ready to be in a daycare center environment at that early of an age.
So why do I accept infants this young if they aren’t ready? I accept them because these moms need to go back to work in order to survive. There are bills to pay and there are usually other siblings that depend on mom’s income to meet their basic needs. And I know if the mother turns around and goes to a different center, that daycare director isn’t going to wear him around all day. That daycare director isn’t going to offer to breastfeed him so that he feels safe and comforted.
Not only am I a childcare center that commonly cares for extremely young infants; I am also a business owner. I am a business owner who can’t afford to provide benefits to my employees because it is so fucking expensive. I can’t blame the businesses that don’t offer these mothers paid maternity leave, because I can’t offer my employees paid maternity leave either. If I were to offer health insurance and paid maternity leave, I would be losing money. I would be working tirelessly without an income, and be in the hole on top of that.
This is what postpartum life looks like in The United States. How do we not realize how fucked up our healthcare system is? We can do better.