You know how some people just don't have a verbal filter? They'll say what they're thinking without stopping to ask themselves if they should verbalize that thought. That's happening to me regarding pumping, breastfeeding and everything in between.
For some reason breastfeeding seems like a sort of taboo subject. It was to me before having my daughter, and somewhat still shortly after. Now it's just a common every day thing I do. I don't think about, and often I forget it's not that way for everyone.
A few weeks ago I was packing up and leaving from work. I grabbed my pump and purse and headed for the elevator. A male co-worker rode downstairs with me and asked about my over-sized purse.
"Oh it's my pump" I told him, without even batting an eye.
It wasn't until he turned red and made a disgusted look on his face that I realized maybe I had disclosed more than he wanted to know. If I didn't catch the hint by that, his "UGH, I didn't need to know that," comment gave it away.
"You asked," I told him.
Funny how guys love boobs but get grossed by the topic of what they were made for.
A few months ago I may have shied away from the question completely, lied or hid my pump under my jacket. Not now.
Now I'm the girl who washes my pump parts in the break room while a co-worker makes a cup a coffee next to me. I'm the lady who sets my expressed milk bottles next to my friend's chicken salad and doesn't apologize for it. And when I've gotta go pump I let someone know I'm doing just that.
Sometimes I wonder if I'll stay this way forever, or if it comes and goes while one is nursing. Recently I told a breastfeeding graduate, a friend of mine, how I like to play Angry Birds on my iPhone while I pump. I didn't think anything of it when I told her. I thought she'd understand since just a year before she was the one crammed in the makeup room pumping.
But she laughed and said "I thought you said 'while I pump' and I was thinking, woah, TMI."
I stood there thinking 'I did say that' but instead of correcting her I wondered what she thought I had said instead.
I'm not sure what it is that's clicked inside of me to make me this way, but I kinda like it. I didn't used to be this way. I was afraid to say the words "pump," "breastfeed" or even "milk" around co-workers. I remember specifically talking to my husband on the phone once and whispering that I needed to pump before I drove home -- embarassed that someone may overhead me. Not anymore!
I'm not a soapbox kind of girl. I'm not one to pound my chest and yell from the rooftops that breastfeeding is normal, that people should just get used to people talking about it, and that seeing women nurse in public is no big deal. I may believe those things but I'm not one to go out of my way to argue about it. But I will say that I am shy no more. I'm no longer afraid to express my breastfeeding and pumping shenanigans with whomever is within earshot. And I am proud to be a breastfeeding mom.