Feminist Postpartum Vignettes -The Toast

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Marissa Maciel’s previous work for The Toast can be found here.

feminist-vignettes-1Exhausted parents lying on the floor, surrounded by government-provided boxes of diapers and wipes.

Tired women with their feet elevated staring into space, while human resource managers do not have any reason to call them to talk about maternity leave issues or concerns.

Tired men holding up two brands of diapers, debating between chlorine-free versus extra-absorbency, making that decision themselves, feeling confident about it.

Parents sleeping on mounds of dirty laundry piled on top of their bed. It’s nobody’s job, and it’s everybody’s job; it will get done when it needs to get done.

A sweaty dad standing next to a boiling pot of water, sterilizing bottles, listening to some Raffi.

Bleary-eyed parents taking turns waiting for the next feeding cycle

Women making plaster casts of their bellies 6 months postpartum.

feminist-vignettes-2A breastfeeding support group that is also a formula-feeding support group, because all it needs to be about is a community of parents who will support each other.

Playgroups where men and women do not make judgements about which way someone’s baby came into existence.

Grandparents bringing mounds of good food, never asking, “Do you think you’ll do this again?” nor say, “It’s a lot harder than it looks, huh?” Just complimenting the parents’ instincts, cleaning up a bit, giving the newbies a nap.

Moms nursing babies in restaurants and being offered a glass of water from the waiter, without even having to ask.

Changing tables in women’s and men’s bathrooms which are regularly serviced and stocked with biodegradable wipes.

feminist-vignettes-3A roving group of men and women who spontaneously and vociferously support parents as they navigate challenging situations with their babies – like flying on airplanes, waiting in enormous lines, enduring colic in public, etc.

House visits from pediatric nurses for babies under six months old.

House visits from nursing bra fitters for moms who need them.

Vendors put a paper bag over any tabloids with covers touting celebrity moms who lost “the baby weight,” or “baby belly,” or “baby bulge,” and any variation therein.

Checking off six months on the calendar for maternity leave, and another six months after for paternity leave, except for gay couples, who are given nineteen months just because.

Employers who send new moms and dads cards saying “Congratulations!” and “Please call us to talk about the opportunity to work from home when you come back from your leave!”

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