Anything the human body does has potential to be embarrassing, and nothing proves this theory more than having kids. From the weird stuff you experience during pregnancy, to the gross aspects of giving and recovering from birth, there are plenty of opportunities for the human woman to be humiliated. So, for working moms whose babies drink breast milk, it’s no surprise that there will be more than a few embarrassing moments when pumping at work you're sure to endure. Good thing I waited until my 30s to have kids, because as I’ve gotten older, I’ve definitely started giving fewer f*cks. Still, some things about pumping would make anyone cringe.
None of this stuff should embarrass me, but the office is still a weird place to talk about an activity that involves hooking my naked breasts up to a machine. I mean, the visual alone, in a corporate environment and one that was built primarily for men, doesn’t feel completely natural. Not yet, anyway, but we’re working on that. I hear they're building another mother’s room in my office building (there is currently only one, which needs to be booked ahead of time, like a conference room). So we’re on our way to erasing the stigma of breastfeeding, and the idea that pumping is something a woman has to hide or disclaim. If anything, pumping actually proves how kick-ass working moms are, as we can find efficiencies to be productive employees and carve out time to pump. You want something done? Give it to a pumping mom.
But pumping at work is challenging, least so for those of us who can find private nooks in offices like mine. Think of the classroom teachers, or train conductors, or construction workers, or those women who have jobs where they don’t have much autonomy over their schedules. If we want to continue to feed our babies breast milk, but can’t afford to stay home for most of the infant’s first year (thank you, unpaid family leave in most states), it means we have to get back to work and pump. As a result, work culture has to step up its pumping game. Giving us more pumping accommodations will help to eliminate some of the most embarrassing moments moms like me have experienced while pumping at work. Here are just a few: