The Nest: Excuse Me While I Pump
It’s a tale as old as time;
a classic love story;
and a remarkable account of how I fell in love
...with my breast pump.
I fought it at first. I didn’t want to give in to the pump. It represented going back to work and spending hours separated from my baby. It was the next step in the journey, but I wanted maternity leave to last a lifetime. My breast pump is the most glorious, awful, and oddest sounding friend I have ever had. It is difficult to prepare someone for pumping at work, but luckily I have been blessed with an incredible friend base that helped prepare me. They provided me with a very convenient travel bag, spare pump parts, covers, much needed realistic advice, and continued support. I would have certainly failed in this wonderful act if it wasn’t for them.
I first met my breast pump when it was delivered later than expected. I had been painfully engorged two nights earlier and called out an S.O.S. to that incredible friend base I spoke of in the last paragraph. They came rushing to my rescue in a matter of an hour by tracking down a pump, sterilizing its parts, and coming over to pump me out of my misery. So when my pump finally arrived at my doorstep, I already had a bone to pick with it. “You’re late.” I said and hastily grabbed the pump off of my porch.
My breast pump then began to travel with me. This beautiful purple and pink patterned bag concealed my ultimate weapon of production. Day in and day out, Monday through Friday, my pump helped me keep up with the demand of my baby’s needs, and that I was grateful for. One friend told me she loved pumping because it meant she was providing for her baby when they couldn’t be together. This statement has resonated with me, along with the multitude of awkward apologies I’ve received when I’ve been walked in on while pumping. I used to write, “Meeting” on my office door when I was pumping, now I just simply write, “Pumping” because I shouldn't have to hide what I’m doing behind another title. Also, delivering a baby has a funny way of desensitizing any woman that was once shy-natured. Don’t worry, that ever present fear of being walked in on that crosses your mind at least 20 times when you first start pumping subsides quickly. Nowadays, I only hope those who enter can make it out alive after seeing what happens when you place those flanges on.
Dr. Seuss could have written a book titled “Oh, the places you’ll pump!” based on the locations women have had to make pump camp. I’ve pumped in a janitors closet, a regular coat closet, multiple offices of kind co-workers, and the empty conference room after “Breakfast with the Governor” - yes, the Delaware governor! I’ve pumped while talking with team members, while on conference calls, in my vehicle, the women’s (and regrettably) a men’s restroom, and one of my favorites - The Lewes Public Library. My pump was the loudest thing that the library has heard since its grand opening. You meet the most amazing women when you ask, “Where can I pump?” They don’t just simply point a finger and send you down the hallway, but rather tell a story of how they survived pumping at work or give you an ever-knowing nod and say, “I remember those days”. It takes a village to raise a child, but it also takes that same village to succeed with pumping.
My pump has become my confidante, the reason I slow down and take a few minutes to breath and refocus at work. It’s the reason I can provide breastmilk for my baby each day he goes to daycare as I continue to grow as a professional. It reminds me that, although I may be a full-time working mom, it’s possible to do more than I ever thought I could. And thankfully enough, pumping helps the mom guilt stay in the far away corner of my mind. So my pumping friends: pump loud, pump proud, and pump because you’re a momma who can do it all.