Medicine tells us “the breast is the best.” Society tells us: “I am a woman and hear my roar.” So here we are: capable, educated, employed. We make money ourselves. We have a career. We have husbands. We have a wife and we have babies. Sometimes we do it all alone as single moms.
Then, when we have babies, we say: “Okay, I want to breastfeed. But… wait… If I have to leave the baby for 8 to 12 hours every day, how should I breastfeed? After six weeks I can’t work again. I need more time to go home. We need to combine. My milk is still adjusting and my child is not sleeping. My wound cannot heal.”
The United States heard our cry loudly and clearly. But instead of giving us what we want-a seemingly more reasonable and realistic maternity leave option, they gave us the opposite option. They make it easier for us to get back to work earlier. They gave us: the right to pump. e, thank you, America.
I cannot speak on behalf of all women, but when I had to leave my 8-week-old baby with myself or someone other than my husband, I was really full of fear. Did you know that when you have a bad thing, you will feel stomach upset? Like that drop of the stomach? This is how I feel every day for a long time.
Just like my brain and my body just knew something was wrong. Every time, my heart feels pain for them. My brain knows that something is missing (tears burst into tears as I type). My baby disappeared 56 days after delivery and my body knew. This feeling, anxiety, and fear is a reaction to their physical and emotional departure from me, which is definitely a shock to my system.
Even if I knew something was wrong, even if everything in my heart screamed “No!” I went back because I was a breadwinner and insurance holder. I am precious to my family and our survival, and we cannot live without my income. This is not our choice, not even a few weeks. But besides being a breadwinner, I am also a food source for our babies.
Watch this video “Breastfeeding Tips: Common Breastfeeding Positions”(1 min 9 seconds)
Therefore, for my working and smoking mom:
I know you are using the rest time to pump. I know that you eat when you are pumping or when you are working because you will spend time during lunch break to ensure that your baby will have lunch tomorrow. I know that every time you stand up and say “I need to pump now”, you want to know if this is convenient for your colleagues.
I know you will pick up your pump bag and go to a room that hardly meets the legal requirements set by the government. You will hang a sign on the door warning people not to enter-they will undoubtedly still enter. Or maybe you will cover up yourself and then pump in the office or cubicle while others are working by your side.
I know you will milk yourself until you are full. I know you will do as much as possible according to your baby’s diet. A 6-week-old baby often eats very often. I know that sometimes you don’t have enough milk to feed your baby. I know you will feel defeated.
I also know that these “right to smoke” breaks are not paid. Perhaps your employer requires you to work overtime in all these gas station jobs, and whenever you are eliminated, you need to stay longer. This will allow you to add more time at the end of a long day, or even longer until you take the sweet and warm baby home.
I know you will stand up and announce that you need to refuel, and you will hear a series of comments from colleagues: “Again?” “How long will you do this?” “Have you not weaned yet?” “Oh, it’s disgusting. “Does this make you feel like a cow?” “You don’t put milk in the employee refrigerator, do you?” “I hope I can take a break like you.”
I know you will feel inside because what you really want to do is to do the best thing for you and your baby. I know you are eager to have lunch with colleagues. I know that watching my favorite videos on my phone while pumping really helps the pump. I know that the close-up videos you shoot can actually hear the baby’s gasping, and they do make you cry.
I know that a “good pump” deserves a high five and a hug. I know that a pumped colleague will become your new job BFF because she got it. I know that when you get home, the last thing to do is to pump. You want to hold the baby in your arms and then nuzzle into your neck. You want those big round eyes to look up at you and smile like that when they are still locked. I know that pumping is a labor of love. I know that our full-time mom’s friends don’t understand at all.
I know this will make you feel like another microscope at work.
- “How many minutes did she pump there?”
- “How much rest time did she get?”
- “How long must we let her do this?”
- “Have her job done?”
- “Why can’t she just feed the formula?”
I know, When you spent the night with that cute baby, you were worried about your work performance the next day, but at the same time, you are still cherishing those quiet moments. Those moments when no one else is around. It’s dark and calm. You can feed your baby to touch his hair. Don’t think about how to pull yourself together within three hours of the alarm. I know that dry-cleaning shampoo and pumping clothes are your best new friends.
I know coffee can make your world work. I know that hearing “you look tired” becomes mainstream. I know that mastitis, whitening of nipples, and vasospasm are the sons of B. Between using all paid maternity leave and sick babies, you will never miss any work to take care of these diseases. Even if you do miss your job, no one will understand.
I know the feeling of questioning your professional qualities, and I know that you are already worried about how seriously they will treat you when you leak breast milk from breast milk last week, but you cry for no reason and you are reluctant to Keep working. I know that between housework, mommy, work, and pumping, you are at the end.
This is the reality of a working breastfeeding mom.
The question “How do we work as women and feed babies?” falls on ears that are not of interest. We wanted a solution and they gave us this: “There are a pump and a room. Your employer will not be able to penalize your smoking. They must legally let you do this, but they don’t have to like it, It’s not necessary for your convenience. Now, if you want, you can resume work after 42 days of giving birth.”
In fact, what we really want is the same rights as dogs-endure here! Almost all 50 states in the United States prohibit the removal of puppies from their moms when they are weaned at 8 weeks of age (when preparing solid feed). As of today, American dogs have a better maternity policy than us! Humans should also have this right. Why is it illegal to separate a human baby from its mom until the baby is ready for solid food (six months according to the American Academy of Pediatrics)? The dog gets it. Why don’t we?
For my children, I hope they will never have to choose between their job and the best choice for their children. Extended/paid maternity leave needs to happen, and it needs to happen as soon as possible.
Until then, mom, continue to cheer. Continue to fight well.