Amy Leann Wills, a Jonesboro, Arkansas-based mom and marketing director took to LinkedIn to share something a little different from the usual new job posts most people see when scrolling through their feeds.
Amy uploaded a photo of her son to wish him a happy seventh birthday.
Knowing full well that some people might find the greeting to be out of place on the networking site, she joked about what a troll might comment: “‘Is your kid’s birthday really LinkedIn worthy though?’—random guy named Abe that doesn’t have a profile picture.”
Amy admitted that before having her son, she would probably be asking the same question, and that she didn’t quite understand the importance of parent-focused policies at work. “Before I had this little guy I never understood why some people fought so hard for better family benefits,” she wrote. “If your pay was great, wouldn’t that be enough?”
All of that changed when her baby spent the first four post-birth weeks in the NICU. “We went home with a ridiculous amount of medical debt and unpaid time off,” she said of her and her family. From there, they faced a tough decision. Amy could either return to work after the traumatic first month away and put her son in daycare, or be unable to contribute to household expenses.
“I went back to work and felt like the worst mom,” Amy wrote. “Then I had to make sure I worked the occasional overtime to pay for that daycare setting.” At the same time, Amy was struggling with “major anxiety issues” that stemmed from HELLP syndrome. HELLP is a rare and serious condition that affects a pregnant woman’s liver, blood and blood pressure, according to WebMD. It can also affect the baby. According to Preeclampsia.org, the stillbirth rate for pregnant women with HELLP is higher than preeclampsia and eclampsia, with 51 out of every 1,000 HELLP pregnancies resulting in stillbirth.
Amy finished her post with a reminder that like users on most social media platforms, people who post on LinkedIn usually stick to sharing their accomplishments, rather than the personal challenges they’ve faced. “LinkedIn is a really awesome professional platform, but it only shows the highlight reel,” she said, “not the scenic routes that some people take out of necessity. I wish more people shared MORE photos of their kids or pets or whatever it is that influenced some of your biggest career decisions and opinions. This kid has been the foundation of mine.”