I was totally spoiled at NYU. There was this single sized, carpeted locker room on the fourth floor with a window, a cushiony chair, a bench for my pump, an outlet, and it locked from the inside. It was available pretty much whenever I wanted, because no one else was exclusively breastfeeding an infant while in their second year of business school.
At noon, I would head up to the locker room and text Evelyn. She was my pumping buddy. I think every woman should have a pumping buddy. We would tell each other we were headed to pump and send each other messages throughout the day. This was huge for me! At NYU, business school kept moving whether I was at events or not, and it was so easy to feel like I was being left behind. The lunch hour was when corporate presentations were being held, CEO’s were speaking at Lunch n Learns, or my girlfriends were going to Chipotle for a chicken burrito: all things I was missing because I had to pump.
Well, with my pumping buddy I was not alone. I had someone who understood how labor intensive pumping is. How you have to clean and pack and prepare for each meal you save when you’re away from your baby. My pumping buddy understood what a sacrifice it took to pump daily, but we also understood the reward – that when we returned home, we had made enough milk and could snuggle with our boys and nourish them from our bodies without being present. The coolest thing was that we were pumping at exactly the same time. I knew that right at that moment, some hundreds of miles away in Chicago, someone else was pumping and thinking of their babies just like me.
Some days I was excited to pump only because Evelyn sent me a text message that she was going to pump. Some days it was motivation, because I knew that she was pumping for two, and that if she, as a first time mom could do it, I could definitely do it. Some days she would text and I wouldn’t reply because I was going later. Some days I would text, and she had pumped before me. But most days, we were in sync, supporting each other. I honestly believe I would have given up months sooner without Evelyn. I don’t think she understood how instrumental she was during the first weeks of pumping. She had been doing it all summer for her premie boys, but in September 2008 when school started, it was the first time I used the pump since Gadget was eight months old.
Evelyn, thank you. I did it with you.