Still waiting for the third trimester... and 'maternity leave'

Whoever calculated pregnancy math is drunk. 

Forty weeks. Or nine months? Ten months? But you're technically pregnant two weeks before you even do the deed. Like, I have to look at a calendar and do math regularly to even try to understand exactly how pregnant I am. 

I hit 27 weeks yesterday. I've waited endlessly for this week, assuming it'd put me into the third trimester. For no real reason, really, other than SOMETHING NEW AND DIFFERENT. But even 27 weeks -- six months? Who knows -- is still not there yet. I have to wait until next week. 

Just... why is pregnancy forever? 

That said, I feel like the last week has been enjoyable. Not particularly in my body, but among the outside world. The belly has become A Thing. People are beginning to enjoy its existence. There has been much "look at you!" and "how adorable!" and "look at that little basketball!" and "oh my god!" coming from other moms and family friends and the office mamas. 

I'm really not mad at it. I even had my first "can I touch it?" from my sister's coworker yesterday. I SAID YES. [shrug] It was fine. Even my sister touched it, and responded with, "Awwww, oh my god ew," which, truly, is as good as pregnancy will get from that one. 


It's taken almost two whole trimesters, but I finally look, feel, and am quite pregnant. The outside world has taken note. It's kind of fun. Pregnancy is often a very lonesome and anxious journey, so when others begin partaking in the joy, it's a much more fun adventure. Like, this is really, really happening and others have felt the kicks and given us baby stuff and there is a nursery under construction. 


Oh, I KNOW. We talk about the country's absolutely deplorable maternity leave situation.

Picture this: I birth a baby. My vagina is broken, my body is shriveled, my boobs are painful, no one in our home is getting sleep, I probably have postpartum depression, my husband has anxiety-by-osmosis, I have no idea how to mom, everything is fucking chaos. My first two weeks of motherhood have to be used as vacation time. Conveniently, I only have two weeks of vacation, half of which is already used. So week two of motherhood is an unpaid vacation. Without a beach. Or a fucking vacation. And then I am blessed with a total of four weeks of short-term disability. Four weeks of partial pay under which I'm getting partially paid for my "disability." It's short-term, don't worry. This seems offensive to actual people with disabilities. I'm a mom, not a disability. I digress. So, four more weeks deep into the burning forest of new motherhood, and just before Christmas, while I'm still learning this new life, probably crying every day, probably leaking from my boobs and struggling to understand how a breast pump actually works -- and don't worry, dad is way already back at work because dads are even more fucked -- I have to hand my brand new, six-week-old newborn, who hasn't even had his two-month vaccinations, to a woman I'm paying a shit ton of money to keep alive during the workweek. And I go back to work. Six weeks after birthing a baby and struggling to survive the wreckage with half my pay. So now we're tired, super short on cash, slammed with gigantic childbirth medical bills, forking over half a paycheck to daycare, and I still don't know how to mom yet because I've only had six weeks to forage my way through the weeds.


So look. Parents, for the most part, choose parenting. We chose this life. We, apparently, choose this inconvenience and disability. I get it. Don't worry, American conservatives, I'm not a freeloader looking for a handout. A deadbeat popping out babies so the government can take care of me. Or whatever you all claim about decent, hardworking mothers and fathers who simply want to continue excelling in their careers and also raise a beautiful family, all while getting continued support from the workforce. You know, details. 

I simply want a fighting chance. 

Childbirth shouldn't suck up all my (limited) vacation time. Childbirth and learning motherhood is not a vacation. I shouldn't need to use short-term disability to spend four short weeks at home navigating the parenting forest. THIS IS NOT A DISABILITY. It is a choice I have made to both become a mother and remain in a career that fulfills me. I have worked hard for both of these things, and one should not have to be sacrificed for the other. 

But women are disposable, right? Fine, a woman wants to go pop out a kid? Give her shitty conditions to work with when labor arrives, she'll inevitably quit out of desperation, and you can find another woman (HOPEFULLY ONE WHO DOESN'T WANT CHILDREN) to pay 75 cents less an hour than you would a man. 

THANK YOU, AMERICA. Mayhaps I watched a little too much of The Handmaid's Tale. 

But seriously. 

Dads don't have it easily, either. Sure, they don't have to physically and mentally recover from childbirth, but they've got to suck up all their vacation time in order to spend even an extra moment at home with their new family before having to leave a brand new mom at home, alone, just so they can keep bringing in a paycheck to keep that brand new family alive. 


But here we are. Per usual.

And don't anyone dare try to convince me to stay home and live "life by design" and sell superfood milkshakes and body wraps so I can make SIX FIGURES and STAY HOME AS A MOTHER SHOULD and make all my financial freedom dreams come true. 

I have a career I worked hard for, a talent I'm proud of, and fulfillment I achieve from both of those things. I'm not giving either of them up to become a salesperson and make all my friends and family uncomfortable by harassing them with condescending anecdotes about how they don't have their priorities straight if they aren't staying home and peddling mascara. Just so I can be a mom. The point is, I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO.

Apparently I have unresolved feelings about this, too. Plus I'd be an AWFUL salesperson. Just awful. It's not for me. AND NO, IT'S NOT BECAUSE I DON'T HAVE MY PRIORITIES STRAIGHT. I'm not even mad about how anyone chooses to make money and support their family and be awesome. Everyone's got skills and roles and we're all getting the job done. Just stop with the condescending messaging.

You do you. I do me. We all do ourselves. And leave each other alone with the bullshit and mommy guilt. I do like the leggings, though. See? I can play fair. 


See what I mean? America is making us all ugly people. I am an ugly person right now. 

I don't know the solution. More time. I don't even want full pay. Just give me time. An actual maternity leave policy, not DISABILITY LEAVE. This crap is common everywhere. So many new parents at so many jobs struggle with this every single time. We have to choose between our careers and our families. This isn't 19-fucking-50. It's just an unfriendly world for women in the workforce. Lather, rinse, repeat for a hundred years. 

But at least we all can agree that babies are cute, right? And if not babies, dogs. And if not dogs, cats. And if none of those things, what the hell is wrong with you, get off my blog. 

See you next time. IN THE THIRD TRIMESTER. Probably.