The challenges of Breast Pumping in today's world
Professional moms must face new phases during and after pregnancy, all different from each other. In this new self-care era, preparing yourself for a life-changing event like giving birth is essential, especially as a business-oriented mom. Focusing on the post-pregnancy phase, we asked a new mom how she felt and what kind of new daily habits she had to face, and she walked us through some of her challenges.
Becoming a multitasking ninja While I knew my lifestyle would change with being a mom, I underestimated just how many more tasks, some more routine than others, my days would be filled with and how little time I would have for it all. Somehow, between pumping, diapers, feeds, washing, cleaning, pumping, cooking, diapers, feeds, omg pumping! I rarely managed to shower before mid-day. Even letting my new-born sleep on my chest for an hour felt like a guilty pleasure as I could visualize the list of chores piling up in my head. I had to quickly adapt and become a multi-tasking ninja. For me, the greatest casualty from the new routine was me time – even the most basic care suddenly had to take a back seat. I am still learning to prioritize. I can only tell you how often I hear other moms ask the very same question – what happened to me time?
Dealing with sense of guilt I did not anticipate that guilt would become a mainstay in my days – guilt over not spending enough time with my baby, that I cannot stay at work as late as before, that my partner is not getting the attention he used to, that I want more time to myself. I think if we acknowledge it and accept that we are doing our best and guilt won’t change things, we can better deal with it. I am still trying!
Dealing with breast milk The entire experience around pumping felt like being thrown back half a century, to some ritual rite of passage, shrouded in mystery, which almost every mom is expected to go through privately, almost secretively. Take for example, the entire process of getting a pump – it was just bizarre. I was told (by other mom friends who had gone through the process before me), that about a month before I was due, I should call my insurance to ask about a pump (I had to look up what that was). So, I called the insurance, and the representative gave me the phone numbers of three approved distributors to call who will then send me a pump (I had some choice in the brand though they are really dominated by a few large players).
About a week later, I would receive a brown box containing a machine the size of a basketball tethered to rubber tubes and flanges which would be my best friend for the next 6+ months. I also realized that I had to be mindful not to venture too far and too long out of the house without my new friend.
Returning to work after a pregnancy Returning to work was equally funny (I work in finance – I have some funny stories). I would furtively wash the equipment of my breast pump in the public sink preying nobody enters the room right at that moment. I would equally hurriedly hide my milk bags into envelopes and bury them in the back of the fridge, in between the bottles of cow’s milk and cashew yogurt.
New incredible sense of calm
But and trumping all the above, having a child has given me a purpose in life and a perspective that I never knew I could have. It has made me calmer overall, I can enjoy time at home without feeling like I am missing out on the world. Perhaps the knowledge that there is something more important than anything else waiting for me at home makes me approach my daily tasks, challenges and setbacks with a much more level head.