this just in (updated)…
Funny how even some good news and forward motion is not enough to stop me from falling backwards and landing on the pit in my stomach.
I am coordinating a big meeting next week at work with a packed agenda and lots of details. It has been keeping me quite busy.
One of the RSVPs that just came through my inbox was this: “I am back from maternity leave and I will be attending. Is there a private area so I can pump my milk? I am nursing so I will have to step out for a while in the middle of the meeting.”
Editing to add I just got some more follow-up questions about whether there is an outlet, and where is the closest fridge to store her milk.
No big deal, right? Though I personally would not want to return to work at three months, I admire her decision to continue breastfeeding. And I think that working mothers should absolutely be accommodated. In fact, the law requires it in a normal work setting. I just didn’t think I would have to be the one to ensure accommodation. It’s simply not part of my normal job description. (In the building we’re meeting, the best option is the ADA stall of the women’s bathroom, by the way, and I have no clue if there’s an outlet.)
For some reason, reading this email made me a little sick to my stomach. Maybe it’s because I remember every other meeting that was interrupted while people asked this same woman all kinds of questions about her pregnancy. Maybe it’s because I can’t avoid it like every other situation I’ve avoided because of growing bellies and talk of babies. Maybe it’s just another painful reminder of the passage of time for me. Or because I’ll never be able to provide the same kind of nurturing to my own child. (Breastfeeding advocates, yes, I know it is possible to try to feed an adopted child, but it is by no means easy or practical.)
Maybe it’s because I have no idea when I’ll ever have a child to feed anyway…
In any event, now there is one less thing to look forward to next week.
Update: In follow up emails, I explained that we don’t have access to a private space in that building (which is part of a private university with classes in full session), but I offered her the use of my office, which is in the next building — it’s private, has an outlet, and is near a fridge. She responded that it seemed like too much trouble and she didn’t have to attend. I found myself trying to reassure her that it was absolutely no problem at all, I’d just give her the key. But in my mind I was thinking geez, what does she want, me to hold her hand (or boob)?