A woman named Marissa Peirce recently caught the attention of over 5 million people after she posted this video of herself worrying if the email she was about to send her boss while she was in active labor sounded OK:
In the video, Marissa reads the email out loud. "I am in labor. I just got admitted to the hospital — smiley face. Would it be OK if my mom or brother picked up my paycheck tomorrow — question mark." Marissa then asks her partner if her message sounds OK, and he quickly lets her know that it is "perfect."
We've all related to that overthinking an email moment, but thousands of people saw this as an opportunity to shed light on some very real truths about women and moms in the workforce:
Like the fact that moms are just expected to be ready to be back at work a couple of days after delivering a human being from their body...
...And they're often made to feel guilty if they can't.
Sadly, some people are even expected to find someone to cover their shifts while they're in labor.
And one mom was literally asked if she could pause her labor and finish her work first. 🤦♀️
An accurate trolling of the US workforce also ensued.
But even with the comic relief, it is still hard to overlook comment after comment of women sharing their awful firsthand experiences working in the US.
It's disheartening to see how many employers lack basic human empathy.
BuzzFeed spoke to Marissa, who said the video was from last July when she gave birth to her and her boyfriend's first son, Charles.
Her job at the time was and still is at a drive-thru coffee shop. "I went into labor at 2 a.m. on a day that I was scheduled to work at 10 a.m. I was overthinking this text message to my boss mainly because I have anxiety. I was a week and a half from my due date, so I was a little early for a first-time mom and no one really expected me to go into labor," she said.
And Marissa said that while she wasn't worried her boss was going to be upset that she was missing work, she was just very anxious about the entire situation. "I was a young parent, giving birth in a hospital in the middle of the pandemic — a week and a half early. Having to call out of work was the cherry on top for my anxiety."
"I empathize with all of the commenters talking about their lack of parental leave. I am extremely disappointed in the United States’ lack of maternity and paternity leave. Most people that I know worked up until they went into labor, like I did. I know people who have gone back to work just weeks after having children. I was unfortunately offered no maternity leave and my partner was offered no paternity leave. He went to work less than 24 hours after we came home from the hospital," said Marissa.
Even though Marissa did not get maternity leave, she said she still feels lucky that her boss and work team were happily willing to cover her shift and duties the day she was in labor.
To me, this is all a big, sad SIGH for parents, but I want to know your thoughts. Have you or someone you know been stressed out about having to take off work due to having a baby? What are your thoughts about maternity and paternity leave in the US? Let us know in the comments!