I worked at a healthcare organization when I learned I would be expecting our second child. I’d planned to return to work, and asked the director of human resources if I could use a private office for 15 minutes, three times a day, to pump. I’d store the milk myself; I’d use my lunch hour to offset the time I’d be away from my desk.
He asked, “Why can’t you just go in the bathroom?”
It took every ounce of my self-control–I was nine months pregnant and I had very little self-control on my non-pregnant best days–to breathe deeply and merely reply as politely as I could, “Would you ingest something that was expressed in a bathroom?”
He looked appropriately disgusted, nodded, and said, “No, I wouldn’t. I’ll see that you have a room.”
I was surprised that I had to talk to the human resources department at all. When I returned to work after having our first child, my boss let me know without me having to ask about an office that was currently being used as a supply closet where I could pump.
I pumped every day at work until each of my kids turned 1. I’m not writing this to trying to guilt anyone into breastfeeding, the La Leche League does a superb job of making women feel like crap in that way. It was a decision I made as a working mother. Nursing helped ease some of the anguish I felt when I ultimately chose to go back to work, and it allowed me to maintain a close bond with my children when they were small. My husband was supportive; he did not have the ability to lactate so he wasn’t losing as much sleep as I was and had no room to negotiate otherwise.
As I said before, I didn’t pay attention to the Oscars at all. The next day, I got an email from my mom, who was irate that Chris Rock pushed Girl Scout cookies on a bunch of rich people without revealing that most of the money raised from the cookies goes to local Girl Scout Councils, not local troops. (Our troop receives about 40 cents a box, or 10 percent of the cost. To compare, when my son sells popcorn for Cub Scouts, about 70 percent of the cost goes to his troop.) I told her that yes, it’s annoying, but Chris Rock had other things to talk about and his efforts led to the Girl Scouts making more than $65,000 that night.
But what’s confusing to me is how elaborate the Oscars have become, with the absurdly expensive swag bags and the hours upon hours upon hours of pre-ceremony coverage that features elaborate sets so E! and other channels can most conveniently insult starlets and their outfits. Following the event, there are after-parties, where starlets can steel themselves for even more critiques from entertainment channels. Think of all the logistics that E! and co. require, and it will seem even more ludicrous that no one could think to have a small, private room with a locked door so new moms could pump.
In all seriousness, if the Academy does get their act together and provides a space for breastfeeding moms next year, I’d watch all the coverage just to see Nursing Mom Couture Gowns and Glittering Pump Accessories.