I firmly believe, with my entire body, that this country runs on the backs of mothers. American society and culture acts as if becoming a mother is a purely personal decision, like buying a new car or switching jobs. But mothers sacrifice their bodies, their careers, their sanity, truly, to keep this country going with new people.

New people who will pay taxes, start businesses, come up with groundbreaking ideas, become teachers, become nurses, run companies, stock shelves, drive delivery trucks, etc. Does our country not need more of those people, who require intense care and love in the first years of their lives? They are not cared for by robots. They are cared for by living, breathing women – women who need endless support and yet receive little to none. Isn’t that amazing? Little to none. Shame on this country for profiting off the backs of mothers. Shame.

If the issue is money, consider this an investment. Invest in me – not just my physical ability to have a baby, but also my intent to raise engaging, caring and, yes, taxpaying future citizens.

I am urging Rep. Chellie Pingree, Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins to pass the Build Back Better Act with permanent paid family and medical leave. I loved being an American until I became a mother.

Lydia Jopp

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