Mom Shares Painful Experience Of Having To Return To Work 12 Days After Giving Birth To Premature Baby

edensmomma10_12 via tikTok

Giving birth to your baby prematurely is already immensely difficult—but giving birth to your baby prematurely and then having to go right back to work while the baby is in the NICU makes it a million times harder.

Unfortunately, that’s what 26-year-old new mom Rebecca Shumard had to do. When she unexpectedly gave birth to her daughter, Eden, at just 27 weeks gestation, she was forced to return to work just 12 days—less than two weeks—after birth.

The United States still doesn’t have a national paid parental leave program in place. According to BBC Worklife, just 21% of US workers are able to get paid family leave through their employers. However, most people who work for a company over 50 people are entitled to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. As you can imagine, not all parents are able to afford to take 12 weeks off without a paycheck.

Because Eden was born so early, it was important for Rebecca to be able to spend the little bit of maternity leave she had with her daughter once she was discharged from the NICU. So until then, she had to work to take care of the medical bills.

She recently made a heart wrenching TikTok video about it, which gained tons of attention. The video features Rebecca in tears, attempting to work, with a voiceover talking about how hard it is to work and pump without her newborn without feeling insanely guilty and upset. She ends the video stating, “This. Is. America.”

Check it out below:

@edensmomma10_12 #nicu #postpartum #ppd #preemie #americanhealthcare #maternity ♬original sound – Rabs

Awful, right? We feel awful for this woman! And so does most of the TikTok world, who made comments in support of her.

“This country does nothing for children,” someone wrote. “They prioritize work and that’s it.”

“I’m so sorry,” another person sympathized. “Healthcare and maternity leave in the USA are vile and inhuman. I’m so sorry.”

The video also brought viewers to the attention of how other countries handle maternity leave, which can last anywhere from 1.5 to as much as 3 whole years, depending on where you live.

Don’t worry—the story does have a happy ending. Thanks to the support of social media, Rebecca received tons of help from generous strangers. In her follow-up video, she thanked everyone who helped her, adding once again that the short maternity leave in this country needs to be fixed. Check it out below!

@edensmomma10_12 Thank you all so very much #nicu #postpartum #ppd #preemie #premature #prematurebaby #pumping #medela #americanhealthcare #FMLA #maternityleave #familyleave #Eden ♬ original sound – Rabs

How much maternity leave do you think is fair?