French Justice Minister Rachida Dati returned to work just five days after giving birth to her first child via C-section. This may seem like a commendable feat to some, but this is sending a rather scary message to moms and working women, in general: You must be a “Super Indestructible Mom.”Dati’s return to work is another example of a message to working mothers that dictates how to act and look after giving birth. Similar to Dati, Sarah Palin, a role model to many working mothers, returned to work just three days after giving birth to her fifth child. We have a tendency to celebrate celebrity moms that return to their svelte and sexy pre-pregnancy shape. And we cheer on those celeb moms that haven’t lost their baby weight, but are obviously trying.
It’s unfair to expect all working moms to act as if nothing has changed and to be able or want to return to work after giving birth. I’ve never given birth, but I have had a surgery similar to a C-section. And the last thing I wanted to do days after was work because it was so painful to just move. Someone had to help me lie down and sit-up. And showering could not be done in a quick five minutes.
So I can’t imagine how Dati was able to return to work full-time, while wearing heels and looking gorgeous. Not only that, but I’d think Dati would want to bond with her daughter, who was only five days old. Mothers and fathers, for that matter, shouldn’t have to feel ashamed for spending time with their newborns. They should be given an appropriate amount of leave without having to worry about productivity at work.
In this age of the internet, more and more industries are finding ways to allow employees to work from home. Maternity leave is a great example of how this could work.
To be fair to Dati, there have been rumors that French president Nicolas Sarkozy bullied her into an immediate return. But we can’t be sure. Maybe she prefers an office to a nursery. Or maybe she’s just trying to save her job. [Parentdish]