Being pregnant, an attorney (especially at biglaw) and working is tough. So is being a mom, an attorney and someone else's source of food. And, its tough in ways that no one warns you about:
I'm hungry. All. The. Time. We have a catered lunch every day at my office (sounds great until you realize that the reason lunch is catered is so that you don't leave the office. ever.). Everyone thinks its cute when a pregnant lady brings two heaping plates full of food to her desk. And then goes back for more. But its not so cute when you aren't pregnant any more. When you return to work, there are no longer any visible signs that your body is STILL sustaining the life of another. But you are. As a result, you are HUNGRY and you eat the same amount you did in your last trimester. Everyone who thought it was cute before, now looks at you with a mixture of pity and confusion. Pity, because they think that you forgot that you are no longer pregnant and shouldn't be eating that much. And confusion because somehow, you are not continuing to gain weight like you did in your last trimester. And keep in mind that this is not a hunger beast that can be ignored. The beast demands to be fed. NOW. Which is why I have left over fudge in my desk that I keep eating.
The Apparatus. Breastfeeding the little man has been an amazing experience, and I am so glad that I stuck to it during the early, very tough moments. I don't have the same affinity for the boob machine. It makes weird noises. When combined with a day's worth of milk, its heavy. It is seriously expensive. It has so many parts, all of which must be cleaned (I slack and use the cleaning wipes, but I'm kind of convinced I'm eventually going to give the plague to LM because I don't clean everything properly). This leads to my least favorite part of pumping: the schlepping. The pump accompanies me on the T. The pump gets carried around the office. The pump accompanies me on any business trips. Did I mention that its heavy?
I take it from my office to the mother's room. And then I have to figure out how to clean the parts that I should have cleaned at home the night before, but was too tired to even care about at that point. The kitchen? Dudes could ask questions about all the parts. I know I should be proud of nursing and answer with conviction if they ask, but in reality? I would rather avoid the whole topic with the dudes in my office. Expectant momma? I will share all I can, in a heartbeat. So this leads me to dodging around the office with my pump parts, trying to find warm soapy water. After two months of this routine, I already hate the thing. Oh, and did I mention that the apparatus bites? Literally, the thing bites me. It hurts. I want to yell at it, but I'm already concerned about the weird noises coming out of the mother's room.
The Awkwardness. Every three hours, I stop what I am doing, get up from my desk and trudge to the mother's room. If its the first or last pump of the day, I need to bring my purse with me to transport the apparatus. If I should skip or delay the mandated break? Leaking, which is even more awkward that trying to excuse yourself from a meeting or even casual conversation to go pump.
If you tell a dude that you have to go pump, in my experience you get one of two reactions. One, the dude turns a bit white, mubbles for a sec, and then pretends that you are a grenade about to go off and they must get out of the room. Two, the dude looks at you intrigued and asks weird questions: why did you decide to breastfeed? how does it feel? I asked J about this. He said that upon mentioning breastfeeding, a guy immediately imagines your boobs, knows that you are going to have your boobs out in the office, feels a bit excited and then weird, because its breastfeeding, so then tries to pretend it didn't happen and leave the room. Immediately. Hence, reaction one. Reaction two is a dude who may honestly be intrigued but doesn't know any better than to shut up. For the record, two was a partner in my office to another mom. That same partner is the same one who exercises in all spandex at the company gym. He's just weird. Anyway, there is always one more potential piece of awkward out there: getting caught in the act. While I have been tempted to pump in my office so that I could keep working, the idea of a dude knocking and walking in on me hooked up to the apparatus is enough motivation for me to get out of my seat and trudge to the mother's room.
Breastfeeding is wonderful, but tough. Pumping, oh pumping. Rewarding but even tougher. I have made it to eight months. I can make it four more.