I sometimes feel the punishment of pregnancy. It’s there… the unspoken, acceptable norms, that make life as a female a little bit more difficult than before. There are just so many challenges to overcome – legalities that shouldn’t be an issue – when you are expectant. Moms, did you also feel this way when you were pregnant? I did not realize how much it affected me until I visited my OBGYN yesterday. She took one look at me and exclaimed “wow, let’s see how many are in there!” Gasp, twins?! (insert instant freak out here) I’m sure we could handle two babies at the same time… right?! I mean, we already have three children, for crying out loud. What’s two more?
A billion things ran through my head but instead of feeling pure joy, my spreadsheet brain and I immediately starting thinking of all the obstacles I would have to deal with now that there might be TWO babes on board. Being ‘with child’ is a blessing! It should not have to feel like a punishment. But I’ve witnessed too many expectant moms, walking around on tip toes, in order to merely SURVIVE the period of pregnancy and the first few months of their baby’s life.
For starters, there’s the whole fear of actually letting your employer know that you’re having a baby. Come on, let’s be honest, how many of you were a little nervous to let your manager/boss know that you were pregnant? And, next question, who is to blame for that? Do we blame society for instilling the career-first prerogative as a social norm? Do we blame our employers? Or do we, as women, make ourselves feel bad for needing to take maternity leave. I mean, gasp, how DARE we reproduce?! The audacity of us!
And yes, while we’re on the topic of maternity leave – four months?! We only get FOUR months of “paid” leave to bond with our children? Yes, I know that mothers all around the world have been doing it since the beginning of time itself. But that doesn’t make it right or easier. Your baby will probably develop the “social” part of their brain around the age of six months. In fact, your baby will only really begin to communicate with you at at the age of about four months (gurgles etc). And for most of us, that’s when we need to leave them with a caregiver, while we trudge on back to work feeling as if we need a holiday after the “holiday”. (It’s not really a holiday, employers. Just FYI.) Introducing a new addition to the family is such a huge adjustment – mentally, emotionally and physically. You need more than four months!
And besides for having only four months of paid maternity leave, the “paid” part of this said leave is usually only a percentage of your salary. Many moms have to supplement their income by drawing maternity UIF as well (which is also a very small percentage of your salary). It’s like they are saying “oh thanks for having a baby, here, take a salary cut and somehow figure out how you’re going to survive on this stipends, while paying the same bills, buying the same food and now providing for a newborn as well. Congratulations!”
So yes, the thought of twins gave me a literal brain explosion. But, you know what, just like with everything else, life seems to have a way of working out. God never gives us more than we can handle and He somehow always makes things work together for our good. But with that said, I am happy to report that there is only one little Jonah Mark floating around in my jelly belly. And that’s enough for us!