This Laboring Mom Emailing Her Boss Is Everything Wrong With US Parental Leave


A working mom went viral on TikTok after sharing a video that showed her writing an email to her boss while in active labor

She could be the poster child for everything that’s screwed up with United States work culture and our non-existent paid parental leave policies. When Marissa Pierce went into labor this past summer, she should have been thinking about the birth of her first child and what a monumental day it was for her family. But instead, she was stressing over how she would word an email to her boss about missing work.

“Labor is stressful, calling out is even more stressful,” she wrote in the caption to a TikTok video, which went viral with over 5 million views.

“I am in labor,” she reads from her phone while lying in a hospital bed. “I just got admitted to the hospital. Smiley face. Would it be okay if my mom or brother picked up my paycheck tomorrow?”

Marissa then looks up at her phone with concern, wondering to her partner if the wording is acceptable. He says, “Perfect.”

The video is overlaid with: “Me literally in labor overthinking the text I’m sending to my manager to call out.”

Pierce told BuzzFeed that she went into labor early and was scheduled to work in a few hours.

“I went into labor at 2 a.m. on a day that I was scheduled to work at 10 a.m,” she explains. “I was overthinking this text message to my boss mainly because I have anxiety. I was a week and a half from my due date, so I was a little early for a first-time mom and no one really expected me to go into labor.”

She said that while she didn’t think her manager would be mad, work was a part of her swirl of anxieties that day.

“I was a young parent, giving birth in a hospital in the middle of the pandemic — a week and a half early. Having to call out of work was the cherry on top for my anxiety.”

She gave birth to a little boy she and her boyfriend named Charles.

The United States’ paid family leave policies are some of the crappiest in the entire world. On top of that, we have a toxic work culture that punishes people for wanting time with their babies and shames men for taking leave. The last thing we should be worrying about during labor is what our boss is going to say about missing our shift to create new life.

A ton of people could relate to Pierce’s video in the comments. And a lot of them were delightfully snarky about it.

A few of them were extremely depressing, too.

And one was extremely depressing and also shed light on the importance of all kinds of family leave, not just maternity and paternity leave.

Both Pierce and her partner could relate to the comments section.

“I empathize with all of the commenters talking about their lack of parental leave,” Pierce says. “I am extremely disappointed in the United States’ lack of maternity and paternity leave. Most people that I know worked up until they went into labor, like I did. I know people who have gone back to work just weeks after having children. I was unfortunately offered no maternity leave and my partner was offered no paternity leave. He went to work less than 24 hours after we came home from the hospital.”