baby sitting in mothers lap
Jade Small
Jade Small
March 13, 2021 ·  4 min read

“I Was Forced To Suck It Up And Get Back To Work:” Heartbroken Mom Shares Why 12 Weeks Of Maternity Leave Isn’t Enough

How many weeks of maternity leave did you receive after your baby was born? For this mom, 12 weeks of maternity leave isn’t enough.

Working a full-time job and being a mother is almost impossible. However, that can depend on where in the world you live. According to a 2019 report from Unicef, Estonia has 85 weeks of paid leave, while Austria and Japan about 60, and Mexico, Australia, Sweden, Iceland, Chile, and the UK all have between 12 and 56 weeks [1].

Shockingly, The United States of America has the lowest, at zero weeks. Therefore, the USA is the only developed nation in the world that does not have mandated maternity leave. However, it can vary on the state level [1].

Corporate greed forces mother out of maternity leave to soon 

Having a baby is an amazing time in your life, your new bundle of joy is exactly the way you imagined him/her and all you want to do is spend every moment with them. Sure labor hurts, and sure, you’re still recovering from the actual childbirth, but you know that all of that pain was worth it for this little angel. Supporting your child is also essential, and you want to provide the best for your baby. So, you tell your company that you are going on maternity leave, and if you’re in a developed country, as mentioned above, you can get several paid maternity leave. But, sadly for Racheal Larsen, the USA does not offer any paid maternity leave.[2]

Racheal recently shared her story on LinkedIn and shed light on the issue that many mothers across the country are faced with. 

12 weeks of maternity leave isn’t enough

It took me four years to have the courage to share this photo. Even now, it’s hard to look at. The shame around raising a family and working full-time is real. I took this on my first day back to work after my second daughter was born. I wasn’t ready. My daughter wasn’t ready. She wasn’t sleeping and was extremely fussy. I woke up five times the night before to feed her. I was exhausted. As a majority income source for our family, I was forced to suck it up, put on a smile, and get back to work. 

I know that I am extremely privileged. Able to have some partial pay during my maternity leave and I was able to take 12 weeks off. I had a job that I loved at an amazing company with great bosses. I had a daycare facility that I could afford with great teachers I trusted. But… I was not ready. 

We need to do more to support parents and families. It may have taken me four years after I knew I’d never had another baby to share this photo. But, I’m glad that I have the courage to speak my truth now.

Edit: THANK YOU for all the kind words and support. I am overwhelmed by your compassion. I’m trying to reply to all of the comments but the feed keeps throwing errors. Please share this same support to any new parents you encounter.

Racheal Larsen LinkedIn

So many feel the same

Many moms online agree that 12 weeks of maternity leave isn’t enough![2]

Returning to work after family leave might be one of the most difficult things you do, or it might bring you relief to feel like your old self. Every situation is different.”

With Rachael’s oldest child, she returned to work after 8 weeks.

It was a breath of fresh air for me to be able to take a break  from the grueling work of caring for a newborn who wants to eat every two hours and cries non-stop.” 

Many parents stay silent and just wallow in the incredible stress they are under. Racheal said;

It is difficult to ask for help, especially when many companies only provide what FMLA requires and their corporate policies don’t allow them to provide more paid time off or flexible return options. For many managers, there is literally nothing they can do.” 

Many parents also commented on the post saying; “I had 12 weeks when I had my son. As the partner who provides health insurance, being a stay at home mom is not an option. My son is now 8 and I’ve missed so many firsts” 

Another added; “Worst experience of my life trying to juggle kiddies and work. Did it for four guilt-ridden, exhausting years. I wasn’t surviving. When my second baby was born we made big adjustments to our life so that I could stay home with the kids for a while. Much harder than going out to work TBH” 

A message to all working mothers

“No matter how you feel about it, you are not alone. There are millions of parents out there working through the same emotions and guilt that you feel.”

Racheal Larsen

Keep Reading: Mom Says She’s Proud Son Punched ‘Class Bully’, Though Other Parents Don’t Agree


  1. Are the world’s richest countries family friendly?Unicef
  2. Linkedin