To say Tara had maternity leave at all would be a misnomer. Her job offers no paid parental leave, putting her in the same boat with 88 percent of the American workforce. Although she works full time, she's not eligible for unpaid leave either. So Tara saved up all of her vacation days.
From contractions through going back to work, Tara kept in touch with writer Jessica Shortall, who kept her last name confidential to preserve anonymity. In text messages and photos, Shortall chronicles Tara's experience in The Atlantic.