I am not quite sure why officially, modern companies of today call maternity and paternity leave “baby bonding leave.” It seems like it is a way for companies to make it sound like welcoming a child into your family is just all fun, games, smiles, coos. What it actually is that they do not want to acknowledge is a full-time job that is actually beyond a “full-time” job that we tend to think about, as in, a 40 to 50+ hour work week. Being a parent, especially to a newborn child, is a full-time job in its truest sense, as in a 24–7 job, with no breaks unless you have hired help or family nearby or a loving partner who believes in an egalitarian parenting style and division of responsibilities. What family leave at companies should be called is “keep your baby alive and make sure she is growing adequately, or else.“ Because that is really what the first few months of life is like for a newborn child. Those are the responsibilities of the parents: to make sure that their child is eating enough to grow and that she does not die.
That sounds a little bit daunting and bleak, but that is actually true. For the first number of precious weeks of your child’s life, she is not going to be able to see beyond 8 to 10 inches away, and when she is able to “see,” she can only see outlines and blurry images. She is not going to be able to see your face full on. She is not going to be able to register different colors from the others. She will though, be able to differentiate different voices. Eventually, she will be able to see your face and see different colors and register different shapes, but that is not immediately. She is going to rely 100% on you for literally everything: food, shelter, changing her diapers and ensuring she is not soiled. She will even need you to hold up her head because her head will be too heavy for her to hold up with her weak neck that needs support for at least the first 2 to 3 months of her life. It makes you wonder how evolution made human babies so useless and helpless, especially when you compare them to other animals in the animal kingdom, some of whom are able to stand or even walk on their own immediately after exiting their mothers’ womb.
I just think it’s funny and a bit of an insult that baby bonding leave is called what it is called. We should all just be a little bit more honest and blunt and call it what it really is. It’s exhausting to sugarcoat reality.