In my entire life, there is nothing I’ve had a stronger love/hate relationship with than my breast pump. I don’t know what I would have done without it, but I never actually wanted to be with it. As one of the gajillion women out there who had a rough go with breastfeeding, pumping took away all the warm fuzzies I got from holding my baby close while he fed, and replaced it with plastic phalanges and a motor. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me want to snuggle my now-toddler. But the thought of not having it? Of not being able to collect milk to feed him when I was away, of not being able to have a back-up option when we needed it? I’m in physical and emotional pain just imagining it. Thank goodness for you, breast pump, you necessary monster.
And the actual act of pumping would always allow my mind to wander in the weirdest ways. In what other circumstances is it OK to attach yourself to some machinery in order to expel and save your bodily fluids? Wait, don’t answer that. Anyway, for the sake of solidarity, I wanted to offer up some of the thoughts I would have while pumping. We’re in this together, ladies. Well, together from behind closed and locked doors. If you’ve endured the blessed hell that is spending quality time with your breast pump, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the following thoughts.
“This Tiny Motor Sounds Like Words.”
Anyone who’s ever spent hours upon hours sitting alongside one of those little machines knows that the grinding of the motor ebbs and flows with your settings. Its repetitive taunt will no doubt start to sound like human language to you before long. And the words will change on the day. The most common thing mine said to me? “Red rum... Red rum... Red rum...” If this sounds crazy to you (and it would to me if I hadn’t lived it), just take a look for the results Google gives if you search for “breast pump talk.”
“I Am A Cow. I Have Become Cow. Hear Me Moo, For I Am Cow.”
I once vowed to silently thank the cow who supplied the milk in my morning coffee before drinking it, but I’ve unfortunately fallen off this wagon now that I don’t pump anymore. Either way, it’s humbling and horrifying to realize that the closest creature who can relate to your breast pump experience (behind other women, obviously) is a cow. And not a cow like those that we see roaming pastures alongside country highways, eating grass without a care in the world except the fly on their nose. I mean those cows that are hooked up to machinery in order to expel milk. Moo indeed.
“If I Scroll Through These Photos Of My Little One More Time, My Thumb Is Going To Fall Off.”
It would help me — as I suspect it helps lots of moms — to look at pictures and videos of my little when I was pumping. It was very bittersweet (much like I suspect human milk can be to some degree although I’ve never tried it, honestly). I was glad to feel a slight connection to him while I did my business, but it was a stabbing reminder that, alas, I was not with him. Frowny face.
“If My Phone Dies, I Die.”
Almost all of my friends have a collection of shows they binged-watched on their phones through while pumping/nursing with a newborn. Mine was Dance Academy Season 1, plus a few rando episodes from Season 2. I can’t say I’m proud of myself for having watched any of it, but it did help keep me from falling asleep when I needed to stay awake and keep my milk from spilling at 1 a.m., so everyone wins (but mostly my baby).
“Is This Real Life?”
Wait, did I seriously just see one of the most sensitive parts of my body squish in and out of plastic, horn-shaped tubing? Was it really squirting out fluid? Yes. All of that really happened.
“Hopefully This Is The Closest I’ll Ever Come To Living In An Actual Dystopia.”
That said, I am kind of curious as to what my post-apocalyptic name would be. Maybe Algebra.
Images: Gary Rockett/Unsplash; Giphy(6)