Thursday, March 17, 2011

my breast frenemy.

sometimes i feel like i'm in one of those unequal "friendships" with my breast pump.  i feel like i give, give, give and get nothing in return.  and i totally know that's not fair because the trusty pump allows me to feed my baby, and that's all well and good.  but i feel like the pump expects so much out of me.

forgive me.  i can't promise this is going to be my last blogpost on the topic, but i do apologize for bringing up the subject again.  i am just having one of those weeks, and decided to vent.

i do not mind breastfeeding my baby.  this week, however, i really, really mind pumping.  it's cramping my style.  i know it's beacuse i'm busy, and running to client meetings, settlement conferences and court hearings.  squeezing in pumping sessions is adding another layer of stress that i wish wasn't there.  i know that once the weekend comes, i'll calm back down and be fine.  but damnit!  it is SO flipping annoying to have to clean the parts after each pump.  to add extra sessions in when i have to skip a regularly scheduled pumping interlude because of court.  it is grating on my very last nerve that there are individuals with whom i work that still have not figured out that when my door is shut, i'm pumping.  (yeah, there's no need to stand there knocking incessantly and TURNING THE DOORKNOB BACK AND FORTH in an attempt to jimmy the lock and walk in on me and my exposed boobies, thank you very much.) 

i am at the point in my career where i have become increasingly busy.  this is a very good thing because it means that my clients are referring new clients to me (which is honestly the most rewarding thing about my practice, so far) and my bosses find me to be competent enough to handle more work.  however, with each new file, project and case, pumping becomes more of an inconvenience.  i wish it wasn't this way.  i wish there were more hours in the day.  every time i get to working on something and i look back at the clock, thinking "shit, i'm late.  should have pumped 30 minutes ago," i feel a pang of guilt.  it sucks.  being a pumping working mother is damn hard.  carrying that medela backpack everywhere, seeking out abandoned parking lots to pump in while on the road, i mean, you've heard it before from me.  don't wanna be a broken record, but this is a CHALLLLLLLENGE and a half.

on saturday, john, beebee and i went to madison to watch my brother play in his hockey playoffs.  we visited my parents at their hotel afterwards and somehow the talk turned to breastfeeding/pumping.  my dad (bless his heart; i know he meant nothing by it -- he just totally does not get breastfeeding, and really, how would he?)  seemed to think that pumping and the practice of law were completely compatible endeavors.  why couldn't i just ask the judge for a pump recess?  couldn't i just excuse myself from a client meeting to express some milk?  i think that's a lot of people's thoughts on the topic.  i mean, you hook yourself up to the pump, you do your business, and there's milk.  supply issues aside, what's the big deal?

the big deal is the constant burden of providing every ounce of sustenance.  it is hard work.  it is my choice to do this, yes.  i could quit, and i could feed jack formula, and he would be 100% fine.  i know this.  somehow i could probably work through my mommy guilt.  but i am dedicated to this choice, it's just hard.  i try really, really hard not to let people's comments about how "it's not that big of a deal" or "it's completely natural and easy" get to me.  i know they probably just don't understand, and that's a-ok.  there are a whole host of things i haven't experienced, don't understand, and certainly have biased, pre-conceived notions about. 

i don't know what i want.  acknowledgement?  no.  i don't need a medal; i'd do this anyway for my baby.  a thank you?  jack can't talk and john is, and has been, very vocal about telling me that i'm doing great and being supportive.  a revolution in our society that affords breastfeeding moms the kudos they deserve for sticking with the whole process despite the constraints on their time and schedule?  maybe.  it's recommended that you breastfeed your baby until they're like a year or something.  when i think about doing that, it's still too far away, and i'm far too annoyed right now to commit to it.  in truth, i don't know what i want.  to vent, certainly. 

my pump is a buuuuurden.  for real. if she were a "friend," she'd be the one that always wants to order an appetizer, but never wants to pay for it.  she'd be the one who shows up to brunch and, in the middle of you talking about your news, would turn the conversation back to her and her issues (ahem, carrie bradshaw?!)  she'd be the old high school friend who doesn't get you anymore, but that you somehow can't exclude from your life.  to quote a phrase my husband hates, "it is what it is."  and it really is.  it's annoying.  it's time consuming.  it's necessary.

fade to black.  rant ends.  exit stage left.


  1. Oh Steph, you are breaking my heart. I know exactly how you feel (and I only worked part time during my pumping days). The only comfort I can give you is that you are not alone and soon, your precious Baby Jack won't rely on you quite so much for his meals. All too soon he will be eating solids along with your milk and you won't feel all that pressure that you are providing every last bit of nourishment for him. And committing to this for a year is a tall task - and why so many working moms quit. I admire you for your perseverance and strength to continue for Jack. Hang in there mama! You are awesome! And remember - if you need anything, I am here.

  2. Oh are preaching to the choir. I know how you feel. Lauren is on solids now. It's great that she can eat other things but the pressure is still there to produce. I'm proud of us that we have hung in thus far. Like Beth said, most working moms quit and some NEVER try it. WE ARE AWESOME MOMMAS that will go that extra mile.....You are doing great sister!!