Thursday, September 24, 2015
Within the last week I asked a few friends to give me a kick in the pants to keep pumping breast milk at work because I was growing extremely weary of doing it.** My supply had started to slip and I was just sick of sitting in there for 20 minutes at a time 3 times a day. They gave me several great suggestions and lots of back patting and cheerleading and so I continued on and things have gotten marginally better this week. But the real motivation to keep going came today from an unlikely source.
**I don't want to quit breastfeeding yet, especially right at the beginning of winter when she could really use the immunities it gives her throughout this sickly season coming up. But the pumping part I was ready to give up on. With Charley I quit pumping at 6 months and just breastfed while I was with her from months 6-10, so I was just envisioning the same freedom from the pump during a moment of weakness.
I briefly mentioned some of the struggles with getting a room to use at my place of employment here. Apparently I'm the only one that's ever needed a place to pump which is a sad tale on its own but that's a story for another day. While walking around with HR when pregnant, we only found ONE option to use and so that was that. It is an office that was vacant at the time so timing worked out perfectly. I've been using that office for the 2.5 months since I've been back at work. It is really no secret what I'm doing in there after this little incident and just because people aren't dumb. So, for 20 LONG minutes three times a day I'm locked up in there trying to keep up with my little chunky monster's needs.
A couple weeks ago my boss asked me in person how much longer I'd need the office because they were trying to plan when they could put someone else in there. I was definitely taken aback by the question and blushed as I stumbled through my answer. I told him I only pumped with Charley until she was 6 months old, but I really didn't know how long Laney would need it. He seemed satisfied with that answer and said he'd tell "them" a few more months at the very least. I moved on from that. Sure, it made me feel a little rushed and a little uncomfortable and a little pressure but I got over it.
Then last week I get a call from the receptionist that a few people needed a room to have a meeting in and that both conference rooms were taken so they were going to use "my" office for about an hour. They didn't even ASK me and they sent someone else to TELL me what was going on. They have no idea what my schedule is or if I'd need the office during the time they had already reserved it for. They just marched in and set their laptops down and I then rushed in to wipe the desk down for them as a courtesy and to freaking move my pump out and put it somewhere else. I was VERY irritated with this scenario too, but again, got over it. Luckily they were going to be out of there by the next time I needed the space. But I did want to rip their paper off of the door that read "OFFICE RESERVED FOR THE NEXT HOUR" and stomp it into the ground. I mean, to whom was the sign for? I am the only user of the office so I guess that was the plan until they saw my stuff in there. "Just stick a sign on the door! That will help us avoid a potentially uncomfortable conversation!"
Today I get an email from my boss that asked the exact same thing he asked me in person two weeks ago. I don't know if he forgot that he'd already asked me or if he got additional pressure to get a better answer from whomever is needing this office but it really set me on a path of rage. I couldn't believe I was being asked this again such a short time after I was asked the first time.
With an email, at least I didn't have to struggle through my response in front of him. I got time to IMMEDIATELY GET UP AND WALK TO HR TO VENT ABOUT IT FIRST. I am furious. As if pumping to keep up with your child's demands isn't enough pressure as it is (albeit that's just pressure from myself) this added a whole new layer. HR agreed that this was completely inappropriate and were typing emails before I even left the office. I don't care WHERE they put me. They just have to provide a space for me to use and that's that.
See the thing is I'm not even that type of person that would attend nurse-ins or feel compelled to nurse in front of people just to try and normalize breastfeeding at all. I do wish it was way more normalized, but I'm not the pushy type and pushing the agenda through those avenues is just not for me at all. (Let's be real - my avenue is to type it all up and hide behind a computer!) But this has me all up in arms. I'm not asking a lot at all, and it should be a complete non-issue. It's a private place and I'm not bothering anyone by doing it. I shouldn't have to give timelines to anyone. I cannot believe the resistance I'm feeling about it.
Which brings me back to my original point. Last week I was dreaming about the end of pumping and even just yesterday was complaining about carrying the crap around that pumping requires. And now? NOW I feel compelled to keep going strong out of pure spite. I don't care if it is in the office I'm using now or if they find another spot for me to use. I feel like pumping until she's in Kindergarten right now. (Okay a bit of exaggeration because I don't plan on going any longer than 1 year, but it just FEELS that way right now.)