When I first went back to work after my first two babies were born, I truly thought nothing was as horrible as leaving them at home. Yeah, I was wrong. While leaving them behind was difficult, I realized there's something far worse. In other words, there were things I wasn't prepared for the first time I pumped at work.
If you're anything like me, you had many things running through your head and heart the day you first went back to work postpartum. How much I was going to miss my new sweet pea was, of course, at the top of that list. I put the pumping material together mindlessly the night before, as if fully focusing on the task would speed up the act of leaving my baby. I didn't want to think about how it would be to pump at work for the first time, because that meant facing the complicated feelings surrounding wanting to go back to a job I loved, while simultaneously never wanting to leave my newborn.
After my first child was born I was working as a trauma therapist at a rape crisis center. I went back to work six weeks postpartum because I had no paid maternity leave. I had my own private therapy office and made my own client schedule. This made the at-work pumping awkwardness minimal. After my second child, however, I worked in a corporate cubicle environment. This means there were ample surprises the first time I pumped at work, including: