Anna Whitehouse, a journalist who runs the blog Mother Pukka, posted the now-viral message earlier this month. In it, she poetically breaks down to businesses what it’s really like to stay home to care for your newborn child.
“A reminder to businesses: Maternity/ paternity leave is not ‘a holiday’. It’s not ‘a nice break’ and it is not time off,” Whitehouse wrote.
“It’s a heady cocktail of anticipation, expectation, arrival and survival.”
The mom goes on to chronicle the not-so-glamorous yet rewarding job of motherhood in somewhat graphic detail.
“It’s stripping yourself back to a primal state and nakedly navigating blocked milk ducts, torn stitches, bloody sheets, broken minds, manically Googling blackout blinds. You are needed. Every second you are needed - if not in person, in mind. It is a job. Without sick days,” she wrote.
“It is the most privileged position in the world but it takes balls, guts (often with no glory), boobs and any other extremity you can put to work.
“It’s hobbling to the park post-birth, riding an oxytocin high; returning home, crumpling into [fetal] position, succumbing to a postnatal low,” she added.
“It’s life in its purest, ugliest, most startlingly beautiful form and it is raising others higher, above your hunger, above your exhaustion, above your needs. It is raising the next generation.”
Whitehouse’s post resonated with many LinkedIn users, many of whom were moms who could relate.
“Yes Anna... YES!!!! Currently on maternity leave with my 7-week-old twins (and 3-year-old!) and it's the most challenging job of my life,” a LinkedIn user commented.
“Absolutely the best description I read of my time during my maternity leave!” another mom wrote. “I absolutely hate it when my colleagues (who never had children) ask me if I was able to 'relax and enjoy myself now that I have been away from the office for a while.’”
“I wish I had your voice 25 yrs ago when I had my first child!” another LinkedIn user commented. “As working mother it was for sure the most challenging time of my life and I don't really feel that parents have it any easier today and that makes me sad.”