Amy Schumer gave birth just over two weeks ago and she's already back to doing the work she loves to do—stand-up comedy. This week Schumer hit the stage at 14 days postpartum and posted the photographic evidence on Instagram noting, "I'm back!"
She was obviously pretty excited to get back to work, but many internet commenters were outraged to see her working again so soon, suggesting that she needed to take more time for herself and her baby and "at least let the stitches dissolve first."
In the comments section of her Instagram post, Schumer joked "I've always wanted to be mom shamed!!!!" but there is also a really serious conversation to be had here. There are so many reasons why mothers choose to go back to work quickly after having a baby, and we need to talk about that.
For many moms who don't have access to paid leave going back to work quickly isn't a choice, it's an economic necessity. For these moms, returning to work quickly is a sacrifice and an act of love, and they should be applauded and supported, not shamed.
We should also support the moms who choose not to take leave because they're not just building families but their career, too. Business owners, college students, contractors, entrepreneurs, freelancers and moms who make their living in the gig economy may not want to take a break for fear of losing the momentum they've been working so hard to build.
And for some moms, work is something that makes them feel whole, and they should not have to stop doing what they love because they've had a baby. Loving your job doesn't mean you don't love your baby, too. Mothers are complex humans, and we can love more than one thing at once.
For some moms, working motherhood means counting down the minutes until they can clock out and see their baby, but for others work is something they are passionate about and something that makes them feel like a better mom.
There is no one-size-fits-all way to balance motherhood and career, and we need to stop acting like there is. Yes, America needs paid leave, but even in countries where women can take long maternity leaves, there are always women who chose not to.
Schumer has the kind of privilege that would likely allow her to take a longer leave. She just doesn't want to. She loves what she does and loves her baby boy, too. And in a follow-up Instagram post she made it clear that she's not taking mom shaming to heart. This is her motherhood, done her way.
"Sending out love to the moms shaming me for doing standup last night," she captioned a pic of herself pumping breastmilk.
It's time to stop insisting that what works for one mom works for all and instead urge society to support women to choose what works best for them.