I had this brief thought of, "Hmm, maybe a nipple post isn't really appropriate on a Monday." But then I was all, "Seriously? Because nipples are more of a Thursday thing?"
I don't know.
So. One of my colleagues recently returned from maternity leave.
Actually, I should stop here with a warning: if you're a woman who has never breastfed, but is considering it, you might want to skip this post. In fact, if you're anyone who is particularly fond of nipples, same goes.
So the colleague came back to work, and on her first day back, another colleague and I ran into her on her way to the new lactation room to pump.
Prior to that you could do it in our small library. You had to wait until nobody was in there and then lock the door. I never put a sign up, because I wasn't sure what to say. (Pumping? Office motherhood in action? This fucking sucks?)
The library, however, was a much better situation than several years prior, where I've been told you had to hook your boobs up in the bathroom and kind of hover near the sink, since that's where the plug was. Also, the library has Internet.
And if you have ever pumped (or expressed, if you prefer) milk, you know that it super sucks.
Except that it does. It really really does. It's dreadful all around.
If you've never done this and you're still reading, let me tell you. You put these clear plastic things that look sort of like funnels on your boobs, and they're hooked by tubes to a machine that provides suction.
So you can watch in horror as your nipple is stretched an inconceivable distance away from your torso. Seriously. You would never imagine that your boob could be so squozen or that it would stretch so far.
Unless, of course, you've had a mammogram or are one of those women in rural Africa who roll up their boobs.
With the pumping, you also get to see how much comes out with ever squeeze. And you get more if you're relaxed. So sitting there going, "I have a meeting in half an hour and my boobs are so full and godfuckingdammit WHY isn't any milk coming out?" does not help.
No. What you need to do is sit there and take deep breaths and be all serene. You could see, through the clear plastic, the direct correlation between your level of relaxation and your production.
I kind of expected my success rate to go up when I looked at shoes or celebrity gossip online, but it didn't. Reading blogs was variable, depending on the topic. Reading work email shot it all to hell.
So mostly I'd sit there all deep breathing and mantra-ing about milk production and serenity and la la la.
But what I am getting to is this. And this is the bad part.
We wound up talking about the horror of looking down while pumping. And how you just cannot believe this is happening to these very important pieces of your body.
"The worst part, though," I said, "is that they never go back to the way they were before."
Her eyes widened. "Never?"
I shook my head in lamentation. I looked at another colleague, also a mother.
She shook her head slowly and sadly. "Nope."