Chances are that most women return to work shortly after their babies are born. Some women by virtue of lack of employment are stay-at-home moms. However very few women are moms who stay at home to take care of their children. It has been become somewhat of a previlege (in many north-american and european countries) to stay home with our babies especially because it has become imperative for two-income earners in most households. For most of us this is the way life is and we accept it for what it is. In order to have certain lifestyles and so we do what we need to do. The question i want to reflect on is how this impacts mothers in general when we have to leave our new babies at the daycare centers and at home with a babysitter. Most of us are still bonding with our babies including breastfeeding and cuddling time to want to continue working. At work, we daydream about our babies and wonder what they are doing and the milestones we are missing out on. Most of us cry in private due to our sadness of separating from our babies. Many of us do not share our sadness which leads to postpartum depresssion.
It is time to talk about the sadness and frustration we are feeling in order to get the right support we need, whether it be emotional, financial, physical and allow for systemic changes.
Using Our Voices for Good
Emotional: we need to reach out to other mothers who are going through the same thing. We need to ask for help when we need it and have a shoulder to cry on during the time when we should be feeding our babies in the afternoon. We need to be able to tell someone "I am sad to be leaving the baby home."
Financial: we need to talk to our partners and be honest enough to say, "I need to stay home a few more months because i am not ready to leave the baby and return to work." We say this so that we can plan a way to save money enough for you to stay home a few more months. We need to make adjustments to our lifestyles in order to save money where we can to stay home longer if the sadness of separation is too unbearable.
Physical: as much as mental health is important to our health so is our phsyical bodies. Self-care is a must when are stuggling with depression, taking our vitamins, sleeping when we can, exercising and asking for hugs when we need it. If nothing, getting hugs will warm us up and remind us that we are connected to someone else. What better way to continue the bonding process than to cuddle up to our babies.
Systemic: before society can begin to understand the importance of mothers staying at home with their babies for a longer period of time, we need to speak out about how this process impacts our lives and our babies lives so that changes can be made systemically. Only when our voices are united can we call to action changes that need to be made to impact everyone.
Use your voice as a Working Mother to make the change you want to see for yourself and your babies/families