Warning: To any male who reads this, this blog is about the escapades of a nursing mom. Be forewarned.
You know you’re a nursing mom who travels for a living when:
Tears of relief spring to your eyes when you discover a “special needs” private bathroom at a quiet, unpopulated end of the airport terminal. Pumping is special needs … right?
Instead of canvassing airport waiting areas for the best outlet to plug in your laptop, you find yourself mentally mapping every family/handicapped restroom you pass, calculating the number of steps from there to your departure gate.
You curse the airline for having an on time departure, because it cuts into your pumping time.
Whereas you used to love tight connections, you now dread them because a short connection means choosing between pumping and dinner. Pumping always always wins. Perhaps this is the post-pregnancy diet I’ve been waiting for.
You’ve lost all sense of decorum, and in the security line, happily and in a normal speaking voice inform the TSA agent and the world that your fresh breast milk is in the cooler, the pump is in the suitcase, and why yes, of course you may test the liquid for explosive traces!
You constantly mutter to yourself, “He’s worth it, he’s worth it, he’s worth it….”
Emails to the client pre-trip now include not only questions about driving directions, schedule and culture of the organization, but also about accessibility of a refrigerator and a private place to do “mommy business”.
You panic when a mother and her small child enter the stall next to you in the airport restroom. You visualize the young child squatting down and peering underneath the stall, knowing he or she would find you squatting on your roller-bag, attempting to pump efficiently while balancing all the necessary tools, and trying to stay away from the toilet.
Upon noticing your ice packs are losing their icy-ness, you approach the back of the airplane and ask the flight attendants for some ice. The woman, seeing your cooler and slightly blushed cheeks, knows exactly what’s going on. She comments, “Ah yes—liquid gold. I’d do the same,” and sets about getting ice. The man, however, doesn’t understand, and asks, “What’s in the cooler?” You answer, but he can’t hear you over the roar of the engines. “What?” he says. And you again, answer. “What? What kind of milk?” “Breast milk!” you shout. Cue awkward silence.
You wake with a start in the middle of the night; your body just can’t adjust to this much opportunity for sleep!
In moments of desperation, you’ve actually considered putting a hoodie on backwards and pumping in a corner of the waiting area, because the handicapped/private restroom is occupied or nonexistent, there are no outlets in the bathroom, and your battery pack is dead.
You find yourself pumping in a storage room, with the pump balanced on a table carrying cart, your butt sitting precariously on a chair cart’s rail, and a picture of your son smiling up at you from your cell phone. Why a storage room you ask? Because that’s the only place with an outlet and some privacy.
You can’t lift your carry on into the overhead anymore because the stinkin’ pump is 3500 pounds. The nice businessman who offers to help looks surprised at the weight of the bag. For some reason, this is embarrassing.
You hope and pray for a seat near the front of the plane on your flight home, an aisle seat, and people who move quickly upon exiting the plane. Time is of the essence in getting home to the baby after being away for so many long hours.
All the inconveniences and frustrations, pain and discomfort fade from your mind the second you lift that sleeping little buddy from his bed, hold him close and breathe in his scent. He is worth it. He is.