I never intended to be a stay-at-home mom, so when it came time for me to return to work a few months after my oldest was born, I knew pumping would be a major part of my experience as a working mom.
Luckier than most, though far from ideal, I only had to go to the office once a week.
As a nursing mom, I had to pump on those days I couldn’t breastfeed at home. This meant lugging my pumping equipment, along with my regular bag and often my laptop back and forth from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
It was cumbersome and exhausting and I still can’t believe women do this every day.
While at work, I had to hope the one spare office was available, otherwise my only option was to use the ladies room.
Yes, I pumped in the bathroom.
I would hide in largest stall and hope nobody could hear the pump motor, which always seemed ridiculously loud. I felt ashamed for pumping in that place, and for not demanding something better.
As far as I was aware, at the time, my company was not large enough to have to comply with any federal or state regulations on providing lactation rooms at the office. But even if they were, I was too exhausted to deal with it. On top of that, I was already grateful to only have to come in one day a week, and I didn’t want to push my luck.
Looking back, however, if I did speak up, and made my experience more comfortable, I might have been motivated to stay a bit longer. Continue reading