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Dear highly valued colleague/boss/client,


I am currently on maternity leave.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of maternity leave, I understand—because we live in a country where this essential work of birthing and raising the next generation is not valued as an investment in our future. (If you want to learn more about how paid leave is an investment in our future, click here.)

So please let me share with you: Maternity leave is a time when an incredibly brave woman pushes a human being out of her vagina, or has major surgery to remove said human from her belly, and then attempts to keep this fragile human alive outside of her body, so I may be a bit delayed responding to your email.

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During my leave, please contact [name here], and I will get caught up on this correspondence upon my return. Feel free to remind said colleague of what a boss I am and how much I rock at my job—because, sadly, the “mommy penalty” is real.

No, this leave is not a vacation. I don’t know about you, but when I go on vacation, I prefer sex, Game of Thrones and 12 hours of sleep at night—not celibacy, six weeks of bleeding and sleep deprivation. But that might just be me.

I will return to work [date here]. I promise you, it will be too soon. My clothes won’t fit right, I’ll miss my baby deep in my bones, and I’ll need to sneak somewhere to attach my breasts to a strange machine that milks me. Good times. Be kind, will you?

It might take me some time to adjust to my new normal. But I will most certainly adjust. Please notice the extra effort that I’ll be making now that baby is here—getting up early to work, answering emails late and catching up on projects over the weekend. I might work differently than before, but I’ll be working just as hard. In fact, I’ll be working harder than ever. Acknowledge it.

When I come back, I’ll be even better at my job. Survey says: Working moms are the most efficient workers around. BOOM. ?

I’m going to mom like a boss. Back soon.

Yours,

Me

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There's the magazine cover photo of the new celebrity mom glowing as she looks down at the beautiful, sleeping baby in her arms—and then there's real life.

In real life, postpartum mothers are just as likely to be wearing diapers as their babies are, and bumps need months to deflate.

That's why we're so grateful for the way celebrities are ditching damaging narratives about postpartum perfection and embracing the messy authenticity of new motherhood. Thanks to these modern mamas, the rest of us are seeing our own experiences reflected in pop culture, and that lets us know we're not alone.

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