At work I stare at the white wall and pump.
Well, it’s not exactly white. More of a sickly pink. The color of a face after it’s gone flush. Vrrrrr vrrrrrr vrrrrrr. Why are these walls paper thin? I can hear my coworkers laughing on the other side of what must be cardboard disguised as plaster. In fact, I hear them so clearly that I know who they are talking about despite their hushed tones. I become anxious that they must know what I’m doing and I find myself disgusted by something so natural – my body and its ability to feed my child. I feel silly but can’t shake this odd shame.
I try to distract from the need for a sip of water. There’s just something about being milked like a cow that makes me need a drink. The more I think about my thirst, the stronger my anxiety builds. The damn machine counts the minutes which have somehow gone by faster than I realized, yet feel seemingly endless. I guess anything hooked up to and pulling at your nipples denotes that feeling.
I swear this machine is talking to me and I can hear it saying, “fuckYOUfuckYOUfuckYOU.” It’s actually singing, not even talking. And that just feels like a straight mockery. I wonder why I decided to breastfeed. I always said, “fed is best.” It was that damn Ali Wong special- all it took was her saying, “breast is free” and I was sold. Ignore the parts where she explains how not free it really is. Cracked nipples are priceless. I became that mom who could preach to all of my girlfriends, who cares what they’re eating, food is food. Until it was my kid. What a hypocrite.
And just like that, it’s been 15 minutes in a closet that I call my pump room. Shut out from the world for 15 solid minutes. A room where cell phone service goes to die. A place where not a single soul bothered me for 15 whole minutes. I was able to daydream for 15 minutes. Be alone in my thoughts. Wait, do I love the pump room?
New plan: stop pumping, but continue to go to the pump room to “pump.” The year is 2041, but you will ignore any and all questions and suspicion about why you’re still pumping for your 22-year-old. Best case scenario: they don’t ask questions, they just secretly judge you.
Pumping’s not that bad.