Friday, June 19, 2009

I"m Sorry For Them

I find it sad that women today are forced to return to work immediately after giving birth. The financial situation doesn't allow them to stay home to enjoy and nourish the new lives they have produced.

It took me a long time to decide I wanted to be a mom. I didn't want to give up working and my husband did not want his children raised by a stranger. Since he made more money than I did, and I had a job that provided a long leave, it made sense for me to be the one to stay home.

The one thing that helped me decide I was ready to be a mom was my disillusionment with work. One day, I had enough and decided that I might as well have a baby. As luck would have it, I got pregnant that night.

I still wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my future, but I agreed to stay home one year and see. Well, saw I did and I shocked the hell out of myself. Once I held my beautiful daughter, I could not let her go. I could barely let her out of my sight to be with her dad or grandparents and all thoughts of daycare and babysitters were banished from my mind.

I ended up pregnant again, pretty soon after my daughter was born. The thought of two babies scared me. I cried lots. But, when I held my ugly little boy (he was probably the ugliest baby ever born, but within six weeks he could have won prizes for his beauty) and he cuddled into my arms, I melted. I had two babies, no sleep and constant hives from nerves, but I would not trade those days for anything.

I saw a young mother in school looking for a private place to express her milk. I felt so bad for her. I still get all tingly when I think about my little ones sucking away. I remember the pride I felt, going to the pediatrician and hearing how healthy they were, knowing their nourishment came from me. The biggest child hater in the world became the earth mother with her own two little ones. This mom will still have the pride of nourishing her baby but the tingle will only be felt occasionally.

I heard one of the young teachers decided to resign to be a stay at home mom. People around were shocked that she would give up her income. They couldn't understand why she would do that. Today everything is so expensive. I don't know her or her financial situation but I do know what mine was. It was hard to live on half the income we were used to. But, we lived frugally and survived. Personally, I am happy for this woman, happy for her entire family.

I might be old, but I was young once. Lucky people all get old one day. I'm glad I was young long ago and had opportunities that the young today are being forced to miss either for financial or political reasons. Whether I was a good mother or not I know that I was the mother that was there for them in their formative years.


dkuroiwa said...

Whenever the topics of childbirth and maternity leave come up in class, my Japanese students (especially the ladies) are shocked when they hear about the American system. Not only the 24-48 hour hospital stay, but the 8 weeks leave from jobs are the ones that shock them the most.
Here in Japan...after the birth of your baby, it is a mandatory 5-7 day stay (mine were c-sections, so that was 2 weeks!!) hospitals that could double as hotels or spas!! (I was a little sad to leave, both times!!) As for maternity leave? most mothers, IF they go back to work, take one year and are pretty much guaranteed their original job back. many of the teachers at my school were amazed that I only took 6 months each time.
Also...many girls will go to their home one month before the baby is born to live with her parents...and then will stay one month after the birth before returning to live with her husband. When I heard that for the first time, it was MY turn to be amazed!!
It's interesting how different cultures view motherhood.

Anonymous said...

I am truly amazed by women that breastfeed their babies. I was denied that opportunity with both of mine. We adopted our son, so that made sense, but my breasts wouldn't work properly when I had my daughter. I had a doctor look at them as well as people from La Leche League and it was a no go.

I am grateful though that I got to be home with them for the most part. I was a full time student at the time but took time away from school to care for my babies. For that I am forever grateful.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I'm glad you got to be home. Breast feeding doesn't work with everyone, I know. I have lots of friends who tried and couldn't. I was very lucky.