Meghann Foye’s work of fiction, Meternity, just hit bookshelves, and the controversy surrounding the novel’s plot—a woman fakes her pregnancy to get maternity leave because she’s sick of picking up the slack for all the real moms—has been huge. While it’s little surprise that many of Foye’s detractors are mothers who are quick to point out that maternity leave isn’t some peaceful time of self-reflection, it’s somewhat amusing that opponents of Meternity’s premise are taking such a stand. As it stands right now, the concept’s still purely fiction!
The author tells The New York Post that after giving notice at her job, she had time off to really reflect. "I may not have been changing diapers, but I grappled with self-doubt for the year and a half that I spent away from the corporate world. And I grieved the loss of my dad, who had just died after a long illness. But a ‘meternity’ done right should be challenging. It should be about digging into your whole life and emerging from it more confident in who you are," Foye explains.
Yes, in this piece, it sounds like Foye believes that some non-mothers in the workplace get stuck with extra grunt work while mothers are out on maternity leave. Perhaps, she was one of the disgruntled. But, she didn’t approach her employer and say, “Hey, I’m sick of working 10-hour days every day while the parents leave at 5 PM on the dot to pick up their kids from after-school programs.” Instead, she had an epiphany and realized that it wasn’t the moms and dads who were putting pressure on her to stay at the office in their absence, it was herself.
So eventually, she took the sabbatical that she (foolishly?) equates with maternity leave.
If she’d wanted to avoid the inevitable vitriol from hard-working moms around the globe, Foye probably should never have tried to equate her need for “me” time with a new parent’s maternity leave. There’s no doubt that they’re not the same thing (don’t believe me? Just read the tweets below).
In any event, through her novel and her voluntary sabbatical, she managed to get an important conversation started: Everyone—man or woman—deserves to have time off and away from work to pursue other hobbies, attend to personal issues, find time for self-reflection and deep introspection. Figuring out a way to make that happen for everyone should be the goal—not taking sides on what may be considered by some as a fun beach read. The tweets below prove that there are a few sides to every debate.
People Against Me-ternity Leave
If she said everyone should get a sabbatical from work it would have been viewed differently. But she didn't, she used maternity. #meternity— Will Sheridan (@umlweatherman) April 29, 2016
Woman jealous of maternity leave, believes childless woman should have #meternity leave. Clearly she doesn't get it— Courtney Kabot (@Courtneykabot) April 29, 2016
Maternity leave is not a break! Take a long vacation or a sabbatical! #meternity— Natalie Tucker (@Nat_Tuck) April 29, 2016
People in Support of Me-ternity Leave (Albeit With Some Tweaking)
Those are the conversations we needed to have #meternity might be a bad name but these discussions have merit.— Sparkle (@jstcallmesweet) April 29, 2016
I understand what the author meant to say and feel like people misconstrued what she tried to get across #meternity— Mayra Moreno ABC13 (@ABC13Mayra) April 29, 2016
Love this idea! I'd never fake a pregnancy for it... But, all these points are valid! ❤️ #meternity— GypsyGina (@GypsyGinaTX) April 29, 2016
Where do you stand on the subject? Tweet your thoughts to me with the hashtag #meternity.