I’m pumping. The phone rings. I answer it without thinking twice. It’s a male colleague who has a question only I can answer, so rather than telling him I’ll call him back, I answer the question. “It sounds like you’re using one of those old matrix printers,” he says. I don’t respond. Because what would I say?
I’ve stopped answering the phone while pumping unless it’s my husband calling.
I am fortunate to have a lock on my private office door. Not everyone is so lucky. At my last job, I pumped in a conference room. A maintenance guy almost barged in to fix a broken light but thankfully my coworker caught him in the nick of time.
I know I am lucky. My boss gives me time to pump and I pump in the privacy of my own office, surrounded by pictures of my kids.
But it’s still awkward and embarrassing despite the best of circumstances. Where am I supposed to clean the pump parts? I’ve tried the bathroom but it’s kind of gross with all those bathroom germs. I’ve tried the break room sink. But should I be washing breastmilk off pump parts in the same sink as dirty dishes? I’ve tried Medela wipes but those don’t get into the crevices and inevitably mold starts to grow. Am I supposed to be taking the parts home every night to deep clean? I have so many unanswered questions.
Last week I decided to wash the parts in the break room sink. A female colleague looked at me and said, “I remember those days. My boobs will never be the same. It’s not the nursing, it’s the pumping.” Sorry, I do not want to discuss boob sagging with you, kind and empathetic lady I barely know.
Last time around we made it 8 months. We are fast approaching that age with Junior and while I’m hopeful I can make it a full year this time, I really won’t be sad when this phase is over. There. I said it. I’m the horrible mother who doesn’t cherish every moment I have left to breastfeed.