An emotional video, showing one mom’s reaction to returning to work just 12 days after giving birth prematurely, has sparked waves of empathy and support on social media.
The mom, known on TikTok as @edensmomma10_12, first shared the clip, found here, in early December. Since then, it’s been viewed 2.8 million times, amassing over 543,000 likes and 20,000 comments.
The video centers on @edensmomma10_12’s difficult situation, stemming from her lack of sufficient paid parental leave—especially considering that her baby was born extremely premature.
According to The Washington Post, the U.S. is the only wealthy nation in the world to not provide federally guaranteed paid parental leave. At the national level, employers are only required to provide six weeks of unpaid leave—and not all workers qualify.
The video shows @edensmomma10_12 filling out paperwork, presumably at her workplace, while visibly sobbing. She uses on-screen captions to explain the upsetting circumstances.
“POV, You have to return to work 12 days after having a premature baby at 27 weeks, so that when she is eventually discharged from the NICU you can spend what little maternity leave you have with her,” she wrote.
“You try to pump at work every three hours, but they’re understaffed,” she continued. “Your milk supply is [diminishing] at [eight] weeks postpartum. Will you even have milk available when she gets home?”
“What do other NICU parents do?” she wondered. “How can anyone afford to stay home during a NICU stay? How can anyone handle the guilt when you have to work and can’t be with your baby?”
In an interview with In the Know, the mom—whose real name is Rebecca Shumard—further clarified her need to return to work so soon after giving birth.
She told the news outlet that she had planned to use all of her parental leave at once—but because her baby was premature and required a lengthy stay in the NICU, Shumard decided to return to work early, thus “saving” her parental leave for after the infant was discharged.
Upset viewers flooded the comments section with supportive messages for the mom and her newborn.
“This country does nothing for children,” said @ceeteelee. “They prioritize work and that’s it.”
“I am so sorry … And so angry,” wrote @christyprn.
“I cannot tell you how much I can relate to this picture,” said @jacci84. “This was me about nine months ago.”
Viewers also rushed to provide the new mom with financial support—enough, in fact, that she was able to significantly extend her parental leave. Her baby, meanwhile, has since been discharged from the hospital and returned home just before Christmas.
@edensmomma10_12 #nicu #postpartum #ppd #preemie #americanhealthcare #maternity ♬ original sound – Rabs