I've been meaning to write and I've got posts already drafted, but tonight something happened that I felt I just had to blog about. And Dad, this one might be TMI. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Tonight I cried because tomorrow will be the last time I pump at work. (well, until we have our next kid... so the last time for a reallllly long time.) Like, legitimate tears came out of my eyes and down my face. About pumping. About something I've complained about for the past 8 months. About something I've dreaded doing every three hours during work and sometimes at home. About something I stressed over for months (do I have enough milk for when I go away? can I go away and find time to pump during the conference? will there be a private bathroom in the airport? when I find that private bathroom will people leave me alone long enough to actually pump?). The struggle is real, y'all.
At first, I ran to the sun room to tell Danny that tomorrow would be the last time I pump! Then it turned into tomorrow will be the....last...time...I...p....(sniffle)ump....
When I first started crying I was kind of laughing, saying, "can you believe I'm crying about pumping?" But then after about 30 seconds, I realized it was real.
I wasn't crying because I wouldn't get to be hooked up to a machine (one that failed me 3 times nonetheless) three times a day. It's not about the machine. It's about the fact that three times a day, I got to stop and really think about my little girl even though she wasn't there with me. Three times a day I got to do something just for her, something I knew would help her grow. Three times a day I got to think about just how incredible my body was for being able to nourish her little body.
On top of that, I got to create a really special bond with some other mothers who just seemed to get it. They understood what it meant to be in that tiny room without windows three times a day, sometimes for 40 minutes at a time, no matter what else was going on at work. They knew what it felt like to be late for meetings or to miss parts of meetings or to drop everything and run downstairs because even when you're at work, your baby is your number one priority. They understood how significant being down even one ounce a day was. They understood how hard it was for me to stock up enough milk to feed my baby for an entire week while I was at a conference. They understood what it meant to miss your baby on those Monday mornings when you just had an amazing weekend of cuddling and complete bliss.
I'm sad that I won't have that daily check in with my mom friends. Having that support has meant so much to me as a new mom. I know the support won't go away, but it obviously won't be the same.
Today as I was getting ready to leave the lactation room, there was a new mom who I had never seen in there before. She asked me a few questions and I happily answered, but I also gave her something that some of the other moms there had given me months ago: it gets easier. Leaving your baby at daycare gets easier, pumping gets easier, finding a balance gets easier, figuring out who you are as a mom gets easier. It all gets easier.
So while I didn't really enjoy the actual act of pumping, I'm glad for what it has given me. New friends, a special bond with my daughter, and a sense of accomplishment for making it almost 8 complete months at work (and traveling) while breastfeeding.