When debating whether to return to work after maternity leave, the straw that broke the camel’s back might have been knowing that if I went back, in order to continue breastfeeding, I was going to have to sit in a closet to pump.
My workplace was full of glass walls with only one real door – on a tiny phone chamber/closet. So it became the only private place where nursing mothers could pump.
I seriously could not stomach the thought of it. Pumping at work was hard enough the last time around when I had my own office with a door I could shut and keep some semblance of privacy. God knows you need it for those moments when a nozzle slips and you dribble milk on your favorite Ann Taylor pants.
But the idea of walking across the entire office, lugging my huge pump, attempting to discreetly slip into the phone closet – hoping like hell there wasn’t an intern using it to call her boyfriend – then walking back out 20 minutes later with bottles of milk to put in the office fridge next to someone’s lunch. UGH. No thank you.
I am a huge advocate for more mom-friendly work environments – whether it’s a proper place to pump, flex schedules, telecommuting. I’ve seen some amazing women leave work once they had kids. Obviously I think it’s great if the decision is based solely on the desire to spend more time with family, but it’s a shame if it’s also because they don’t think the environment is supportive enough to balance both.