Dear Meghann Foye,
I hope this reaches you as I fear you are now part of the witness protection program and living in a bunker somewhere. Look on the bright side, you’ve got plenty of “me time” now while you dodge grenades. You can find yourself while hoping no one else finds you.
I want to pity you, but frankly, your asinine essay made my blood boil.
I have to believe your intentions were good, because otherwise that makes you a moron just looking to stir up some trouble.
First, let’s establish that I do not think I am a better person than you are because I birthed babies. No one’s worth is determined by the choice or ability to have children.
Having said that, I think your message got lost in your phrasing. Reading the headline with the word “perks” in the same sentence as “maternity leave” made me want to punch you.
My maternity leave was a smelly, sleepless, emotional hot mess. And that was after the first few weeks when I’d found some solid footing.
There was no searching the inner recesses of my soul and pondering the big questions. I was too busy searching for a hot shower, wondering why I ever had sex in the first place and begging sweet baby Jesus for a substantial stretch of sleep.
Your implication that maternity leave is somehow a vacay with a Baby Bjorn and some Pampers thrown into the suitcase is demeaning.
Here’s a little exercise for you to get my drift:
1) Go to the hamper and pull out pants and a shirt that actually smell and put them on. If there is a stain even better
2) Walk back to hamper and find pants that have elastic in the waistband because nothing else fits
3) Find a bra that is three sizes too small and strap that puppy on until your breasts are aching like an in-home mammogram. Also grab some granny panties and put a batch of twigs and mulch inside so they rub you raw every time you move. You might as well toss some in the cup of your bra too, everything is raw and sore.
4) Set your phone alarm at 15 minute intervals and begin a task, say, cooking dinner. Each time the alarm sounds, stop what you are doing and walk into the bedroom for 5 minutes. Return to kitchen and begin cycle again.
5) After 4th alarm, pick up a liter of soda and carry it around as you try and remember what you were doing. Once you recall, try feeding yourself while shifting the liter from arm to arm. .
6) Finally give up and sit on couch holding liter of soda until you drift off. Snap awake just as you are about to drop the liter on the floor. Sit on couch and sob.
7) Retire to bed without changing out of dirty clothes. Lie on stomach and feel like someone set fire to your suffocating breasts. Roll over. If you have a husband this is a good time to start a fight about how men can’t nurse the baby and an unrelated topic like the hot waitress at Chili’s from two years ago.
8) Cry for the 100th time that day
9) Set alarm for every 2-hrs. Each time alarm sounds sit up in bed, stifle a scream because the slightest shift in position causes searing pain in your nether regions, Then unhook bra and stay upright for thirty minutes. Struggle for 15 minutes to put bra back on, cringe because you forgot nipple cream and doze until alarm goes off in approximately 60 minutes.
10) Repeat this for 4 weeks minimum until you no longer know what day it is and don’t have the faculties to hold an adult conversation.
That’s maternity leave in 10 easy steps.
And that doesn’t include any mind-numbing, inexplicable crying or straight 24-hr shifts with no sleep at all. Or the fact that you could possibly kill or permanently damage ANOTHER HUMAN BEING that you are solely responsible for while in this compromised state of existence.
Paralyzing fear and self-doubt, tons. Introspection, zero. None at all.
Ms. Foye, I’m glad that you had the wherewithal to focus inward and find your path, but it is regretful that you still felt the need to stomp all over moms with your pitiful, public me-nifesto.