When my daughter was born, I was lucky enough to be able to spend 13 weeks at home with her. Adjusting to life with a newborn is no joke. Not only was I recovering from birth, but I was also trying to figure out how to feed a baby with my body, how to survive with basically no sleep, and how to care for a literal human being. (Did you know they just let you take your baby home from the hospital? They don’t give you instructions or anything. Crazy!)
So during those 13 weeks I was home, I was busy. I was nursing, pumping, shushing, swaddling, rocking, and doing all of the laundry. So much laundry. Some people (*cough*men*cough*) think maternity leave is a vacation, but it is most certainly not. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I certainly didn’t feel refreshed afterward.
That’s why it is so ridiculous that some people are forced to go back to work on a much faster timeline. Without paid family and medical leave, some new moms have to go to work just a few days after giving birth in order to make ends meet and pay for all those diapers. They haven’t even had time to recover from the birth, much less adjust to their new normal.
We need to pass paid family and medical leave not only for new parents, but also for people who need the ability to care for sick loved ones or to recover from a serious illness. No one should have to worry about being fired because they need to take their mom to get chemo treatments. That’s just cruel.
Wealthy corporations and special interest groups have worked together for years to keep paid family and medical leave from passing in Virginia because they are more interested in increasing profits than ensuring their employees can live with dignity. But it’s time that people in our community are able to balance their responsibilities at work with their caregiving responsibilities at home without worrying about losing their job. We must come together to ensure that all of us have the opportunity to thrive by passing paid family and medical leave. All of us should feel secure in the knowledge that we can take time off work to take care of our families if we need to. So email your legislators today and tell them to vote for paid family and medical leave for Virginia families.