Even though my breast pump has been packed away for months now, I’m still haunted by its existence. I don’t know how it’s possible to be both entirely grateful for something, and to hate every minute you spend with it. To whomever engineered the first breast pump, I am forever in your debt, but I’m also glaring at you really, really hard. Of course, I’m not alone in these mixed feelings towards the almighty machine, lots has been written about what it's like to use a breast pump, and the crazy things that go through your mind while you're hooked up to one. It's a culture; it's a lifestyle; it's a burden; it's a blessing; I'm so glad it's over.
In the days of yore, perhaps women spent this time reading or watching TV, or doing any number of things that adult humans can do to amuse themselves while sitting down. I occasionally did both while I was pumping, however, like most women, the number one thing I would do while pumping was amuse myself with my phone. I would check my social media feeds, read up on current events and pop culture, and play my favorite games meant for people decades younger than me. And, of course, I would text. I would text my partner, my friends, and really just whoever popped into my mind at that particular moment (don’t read into that). And yes, over time, it became clear that these texts often fell into a few certain categories, most commonly including:
"OMG I am hooked up to this machine and it hurts but feels really good at the same time and I can’t even stop staring at my areolas (wait, is it "areolae"?) getting pushed around the horns. What is life?"
"Whatever, it’s cool, I’ll do anything for my kiddo because HE SAT UP ON HIS OWN LAST NIGHT and it was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. *attaches 47 new baby pictures*"
"THIS IS THE WORST. It's painful and it takes forever and I’m only producing a half ounce every time and I want to quit and where is the formula?"
The Nostalgic Reference
"Hey remember 15 years ago when we used to talk on AIM all the time after school? And when we were more invested in Britney V. Christina than Breast v. Bottle? *Sigh*"
The Exact Same Thing You Would Have Sent Pre-Baby
"Hey do you want to hang out and watch Fuller House? By which I obviously mean 'get drunk and watch Fuller House?'"
The Desperate Request For Adult Conversation
"OMG What is going on with you? Please tell me everything that doesn’t have to do with diapers or drool. "
The Random Anecdote You Just Read
"Hey DYK That Chrissy Teigen And John Legend wore CROWNS at their baby shower? How have we not figured out how to become friends with them IRL yet?"
The Completed Dated Check-In
"Hey whatever happened to Chris from N*Sync? Google it for me. I'm lazy." (And then they totally Google is for you because friendship.)
The Request For Reassurance
"Please tell me that someday I will get to stop pumping and my body will be mine again?"
The Request For A Night Out
"This machine is talking to me. I. Must. Get. Away. Let's go out. I'll probably have to bring the breast pump and leave it in the trunk of the car, but whatever."