New and expecting mothers need to see this!
It seems like the only way to hear about something in today’s world is for it to go viral first. Thankfully, once in a while, the stories that do make headlines and get shared across social media truly merit the attention!
That’s the case with this seemingly odd tale about a simple paper plate that went on to get thousands upon thousands of likes, shares, and comments after a picture of it was posted to Facebook by a group called Labor of Love. From just glancing at it, you’d never know the powerful message behind the plate, but it’s something that every new and expecting mother should see.
A Paper Plate
Look at this picture. What do you see?
For most of us, it looks like a simple paper plate with measuring tape placed across it. For anyone who has given birth or had a close friend or relative give birth, this plate can actually mean so much more.
If you look close enough at the measuring tape, you’ll see that the diameter of the plate is approximately 8.6 inches (22 centimeters). As it so happens, this is also the average diameter of a placenta; the organ crucial to a healthy pregnancy.
Did you know that in the United States, the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 guarantees new and expecting mothers 12 weeks of leave during the months immediately before and after birth or adoption, but that the US is one of only a handful of countries that doesn’t require paid maternity leave? Most other nations have at least 14 (if not 26 or more) weeks of maternity leave—paid.
So what does all this have to do with a plate?
Labor of Love – Lancaster, PA posted the picture of the plate to their Facebook with the following caption:
“22cm or 8.6 inches. That is the exact diameter of a paper plate, AKA the fine china in our house. It is also the average diameter of a placenta. After a baby is born, mothers are told to take it easy for at least 4-6 weeks. There are good reasons for that! One of those reasons is that after the baby is born, mothers are left with a wound on the inside of their uterus where the placenta was attached. That wound will take at least 4-6 weeks to completely heal. During that time they are still susceptible to infection and hemorrhaging. Even if they have a complication-free […] delivery and feel okay, they will still need to take care of themselves and not overdo it for those first several weeks postpartum. To those mothers, rest! To their husbands, partners, parents, in-laws, friends – let them rest! Help out as much as you can and don’t let them overdo it!
“As the saying goes ‘one week in bed, one week around the bed, and 2 weeks around the house.'”
Think of the Families
It’s disheartening to think about, but many women cannot afford the luxury of taking so many weeks of unpaid leave after giving birth. Other new mothers are left alone with the baby but are still responsible for keeping house or taking care of other children or family members. It’s nearly impossible to truly relax and take it easy for right amount of time after giving birth, and it puts new mothers at risk.
Although studies have shown that paid maternity (or parental) leave can have major benefits for both parents and children alike, the US remains an outlier in the modern world by not making it law.
Since it was first shared, Labor of Love’s paper plate photo has gone viral with tens of thousands of likes, comments, and shares, and it’s for a good reason. The next time you wonder why women and new parents seem to miss so much work after the baby arrives, just think about the paper plate— not to mention how large a child is and how much work it is to raise a child. Or if you think new parents aren’t able to take enough time off to be with their growing family, ask yourself why the United States doesn’t do better for its citizens!
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