It’s About Time!

I just want to say “YES!” to everything this article says about the gender pay gap, as well as “YES!” to everything this article says about women’s bodies after childbirth. I’ve been saying (asking) for years: “Why don’t women automatically get physical therapy after C-sections, when everyone else gets physical therapy after even minor surgery?” I have a friend who had physical therapy on her pinkie finger after surgery. I only had my abdomen cut open and sewn back together twice – and, nothing.

I am resolving to start yoga soon. My lower half desperately needs it. Everything is out of whack and out of joint. I used to dance, so I am well-acquainted with my body and how it functions – and can function when everything is working together properly. Some of it is getting older, I know. Some of it sitting ALL. THE. TIME. But I do believe a lot of it is from the terrible post-C core muscles that have been putting strain on my IT bands for years, and now that pain/strain is affecting my hamstrings and knees.

Anyway, regardless of my own personal issues, I am grateful that we, as a society, are finally acknowledging that: (1) asking about past salary history reinforces the gender pay gap; and (2) women should be prescribed PT after childbirth, regardless of whether you had a vaginal or C-section birth.

I also want to say that, in response to the article that mentions Kate Middleton post-childbirth: Although I am admittedly jealous that she could look so beautiful just seven hours after giving birth, I also feel badly for her. I cannot imagine the pressure of having to look that “perfect” for all the world to see, so soon after having a baby.

But, she is also just lucky. Can we, as a society, please start acknowledging the luck factor of good genes? Luck plays a huge factor in your looks, your ability to stay thin [I will find the article I read about this and link it later], how you give birth, and your health. Kate is extremely fortunate that she *could* stand just seven hours after giving birth. I was hooked up to magnesium sulfate for 24 hours after giving birth and bedridden. Magnesium sulfate is a nervous system suppressant and you cannot walk without assistance when it is in your body. It was in my system for three days (two days before SC1’s birth and one day following.) Thereafter, I still had an IV hooked up to me for another three days. I was so swollen post-partum that none of my XL maternity clothes fit me. I had to wear my father’s shirts. I have a picture of myself one week post-partum, bloated as a whale, that I’d love to post on here if this wasn’t an anonymous blog, to prove that I am not exaggerating.

What if Kate Middleton had had severe pre-eclampsia and nearly died, as other women experience? What then? Would we acknowledge, as a society, that asking a woman to “snap back” to her pre-pregnancy body and self almost instantaneously is fantasy? And why does Kate “have” to look so beautiful for the adoring public?

She’d be doing everyone a favor if she just gave a press statement: “I would like to acknowledge all the MILLIONS of women from the dawn of creation until now who have given birth. Out of respect for those who have died in childbirth; out of respect for those whose bodies have been disfigured and/or taken longer to return to “normal”; out of respect to those women who suffer from post-partum depression and eating disorders: I am not going to appear right now to prove to the world that with enough money, make-up artists, hair dressers, and good fortune, one can  look as stunning as any woman can possibly look after having a baby. Instead, out of respect for the women who cannot, I am going to ask that you please respect my privacy and my decision. Let’s give a round of applause for all the women who have given birth.”

If she gave some sort of public speech like that, then I might be impressed with her. But I refuse to be impressed with her just because she can look pretty.

Econ-Mom: Hear hear to this! Ok first of all, I am guilty of reading way too many articles about the royal family.  I honestly cannot even explain why – I’m not a big celebrity gossip person in general but I somehow got sucked into royal family mania.  (I am always shocked when I realize that my husband’s Google news feed has nothing about Princess Kate or Meghan Markle.)  So, I weirdly sort of love the royal family but I 100% agree that wearing stilettos mere hours after giving birth is ridiculous and does not send a good message.  How you handle pregnancy, labor, and the post-partum period does have a lot to do with luck!  (And by the way, I was honestly shocked when I started learning about stuff like perineum tears after I was already 6 months pregnant.  Maybe I really had my head in the sand but I have honestly wondered if women just hide this information from the younger generation to ensure the survival of the species. My point being that there are a whole host of health issues that can arise during pregnancy and delivery that many people are not even aware of.)

Anyway, I do have very mixed feelings when I see high profile women like Marissa Mayer or Tammy Duckworth going back to work almost immediately after having a baby.  On the one hand, it’s so fantastic that they are opening people’s minds to the idea that a women can be pregnant and then have a baby while working as a CEO or congresswoman.  On the other hand, I worry that it can set up an expectation that all women are capable of jumping right back into work after only a couple weeks.  I think it just reveals a deeper issue in our society which is the lack of appreciation for the fact that having a baby is a BIG FREAKING DEAL.  Maybe this is a really radical thing for me to say but I would like to see a world where NO ONE goes back to work 2 weeks after having a baby. No man, no woman.  Not if you work at McDonald’s, not if you’re the CEO of a company.  Of course Marissa Mayer and Tammy Duckworth aside, many low income women cannot afford to take much time off of work, which is frankly a bigger and more shameful issue.  I feel like I’m beating a dead horse but I’ll say this again – I’m tired of women fighting to be “just like men”.  Instead we need to fight to push men away from the current equilibrium where work is above all.

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