Monday, August 29, 2011

pumping sagas

What I would rather be doing.
School started today, ushering in a new period of my pumping saga.

Since I share an office, pumping there is out of the question. You would think, working in a school with a ton of other women that have had babies that we would have a dedicated pumping spot. Unfortunately, since schools are overcrowded and space is at a premium, we do not.

Fortunately, I work with an administrator who is sympathetic to the issue of pumping. Last year she allowed me to use the conference room space. This year, however, the head secretary has moved into that space. What to do now?

Again, I am lucky. When I spoke to my administrator about finding a new space, she emphatically stated that under no circumstances was I to use a bathroom. She offered her own office until we found a spot. She also said that she would make it a priority to find me a spot- which she did! She actually sought me out today (!!!!) to let me know that the head secretary offered to let me continue to use the room that she moved into to pump.

I had my reservations about this- how could I kick a busy woman out of her office in the middle of the day? Would she hate me? Resent me?

It turns out that, at least for today, my worries were unfounded. I walked into the office with my pump bag, and when she saw me, she smiled and said, "Hey! I apologize for the mess, go ahead!" This is a woman who had a line of people five deep waiting to see her. A woman who looked like she hadn't stopped moving all day. Also, and this is important, a woman who has not had kids and has not had to deal with pumping. Yet she recognized the importance of my responsibility and did the best that she could to accommodate me and make me feel comfortable.

Again, I feel incredibly lucky to work where I do. Not only do I have an exciting and creative job, I work with people that understand and value the responsibilities that come with being a mother. Unfortunately, this is not the case for all women. I am thankful that I am not the teacher that was fired for refusing to stop pumping. I am thankful that I was not told to use a bathroom. I am thankful that I do not have to justify my reasons for pumping or the manner in which I choose to nourish my child.

Pumping is hard work. I am thankful that the people around me have helped me to make it a little bit easier.

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