Imagine sitting in a six-hour long committee meeting as a lawmaker. An important meeting about the issue of homelessness, as a matter of fact. Now imagine you really need to pump breast milk. For some people, this might pose a problem. That whole work life/private life seal that so many people are loathe to breach. But for this councilwoman, pumping breast milk during a long committee meeting was a necessary means to an end. And obviously she's the badass of the hour.
Brianne K. Nadeau, a D.C. councilwoman for Ward One, gave birth to daughter Zoe three months ago. She told The Washington Post that she normally finds ample time to pump breast milk for her daughter throughout the day, but found herself on the dais in a meeting that was lasting longer than expected. A public hearing about the nature of homelessness that was running into its sixth hour. And she found herself needing to pump. As Nadeau shared on Twitter:
As a new mom, I don't want to recess my committee each time I need to pump so I will be pumping for a short while as our hearing on Rapid Rehousing continues. I believe its the first time it has been done from the DC Council dais.
Working moms who breastfeed their babies can absolutely relate to Nadeau's predicament, even if her breast pumping story was slightly more public than the average woman. I mean, most of us don't have to worry about pumping milk from the District of Council dais. And full points to Nadeau for being uber-discreet; she told The Washington Post that she already had her hands-free "Freemie" collection cups on under her shirt, so all she had to do was turn it on. Honestly, I wish I was that cool under pressure just once in my lifetime.
For Nadeau, being a badass mom isn't exactly a once-in-awhile sort of gig either. In the short time since giving birth, she's become a trailblazing mother on the D.C. Council. Starting with becoming the first woman to give birth while serving in office, according to FOX 5.
Nadeau told the news outlet in October that she's trying to make her "unique" situation work, and sometimes that means taking work home with her and vice versa, according to FOX 5:
Even when I was in labor with her, I was on my phone responding to constituents’ emails just to distract myself because there is always something going on that could use a little help.
Even when little Zoe came earlier than expected, Nadeau showed up at council to make sure some legislation she had proposed would make it through. Nadeau has brought a crib, a stroller, and all of the usual baby accessories to her office, but she's aware that being able to take her daughter to work with her is a special privilege not all mothers are afforded. And it's helping her identify better with the women in her district, as she told FOX 5.
In D.C., mothers are able to take 12 weeks of maternity leave under a new paid-family leave law that was passed in December 2016. While this is absolutely a step in the right direction, it's still a struggle for moms to leave their small babies behind as they return to work, especially if they're worried about having adequate time and space to pump breast milk. While the Break Time for Nursing Mothers federal law was passed in 2010 to protect a mother's right to proper facilities to pump breast milk, in reality it's not always that simple. Unforeseen circumstances arise all the time. Which is why it's so important to normalize pumping breast milk wherever necessary.
Like badass mom Brianne Nadeau. Pumping milk during a meeting and representing for all breastfeeding moms who need to be heard.
Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:
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