|Shirley's Workplace's Mother's Room: My that's a lot of possessive apostrophes!|
It's so eerie and yet like getting back on a bicycle after 5 months. The early morning commute, the traffic, the old parking garage, forgetting which floor to press on the elevator, swiping my badge on the door to get to my desk. I've done it a million times before and the day is turning out to be a day like any other.
Except it's not.
It's my first day back to work from maternity leave and there is a gut wrenching feeling of sadness and guilt as I leave my children to go to work today. It seems that this gut-wrenching feeling gets stronger with each kid I have (thank goodness I'm stopping at two).
And on this day like any other, I'm trying something brand new. I'm using the Mother's room that my workplace offers. I must admit that with my first child, I intended to use this room and yet never did. I even bought a portable pump to use in the mother's room, but I had an underlying weird feeling so I never pumped at work. I only nursed my first son after work hours. I think this is a major reason that he became a formula-only baby at 5-6 months of age.
I want to last longer this second time around, and I knew this meant I would need to get over my "weird" feeling and use the mother's room. I went to the room today fully equipped with my pump, batteries, nursing cover, milk storage etc. I'll tell you exactly what I was expecting to see when I opened the door (note that the only basis I had of a "mother's room" is the one that is available at my local Babies R Us).
I was expecting a conference-type room without any locks with a few chairs where multiple women could sit and semi-privately pump simultaneously. Nothing else. I thought I would need my nursing cover for extra privacy, I would need to wash the pump in the bathroom afterwards, and take my milk along with me and hide it in the freezer of the break room. If you are laughing at me; go ahead. I don't mind. But it's true. That's really what I thought. I never bothered to actually SEE what the Mother's Room was all about at my workplace.
Instead what I found today was a room that I needed to reserve using our online calendar system, a numbered lock pad on the door, a pump provided by the company, one nice comfy chair, a sink and all the washing needs, permanent markers to label the milk, and even a fridge! The other nursing mothers had comfortably left their washed pump parts drying on the counter (so they LEFT their stuff here? A novel idea!). I counted three other women, judging by the number of drying parts. And they were using the pump provided by the company.
I felt like such a newbie, dragging along all these unnecessary things I thought I would need. To make things worse, when I tested the company pump I found it was much, much more quiet than my pump. I embarrassingly wondered if folks could hear me in the halls with my clunky pump! If they could, they were probably thinking, "We got another newbie today!"
The company pump is Medela, and one of my good friends just so happened to temporarily loan me her Medela Pump In Style pump months ago, so I have some of the parts already. I ashamedly have yet to even use it! (I'm not sure what's wrong with me and why I procrastinate with anything related to pumping) Day after day I've just been using my clunky old pump. That ends today. I cannot believe that I waited this long to use the Mother's room and Medela pump! It seems that my goal of nursing longer this time around might be a little easier than I thought!
Moral of the story: Check out your damn Mother's Room! - Shirley