Sunday, August 29, 2010

My recent issues with pumping at work

If anyone has been following my twitter or facebook feeds you would know that last week I had some very interesting things happen at work.

I've talked about my pumping situation a couple of times before. Here and here. Basically I use an executive's office who is only here about once every 3 months or so. When he is here I use the storage closet next to it. Its a nice situation and I do everything to work around people's schedule and basically make sure I'm not bothering anyone. I even keep paper towels in my bag just in case anything spills it gets wiped up immediately and there is never a trace that I was even there.

On Wednesday I was approached by one of our administrators. She was unhappy about something and seemed really uncomfortable about what she needed to tell me. She said that one of the people upstairs (executives) had made a complaint about me leaving a mess in the office. She said there was now some cleaner/disinfectant in the office and that every time I am in there I need to wipe the desk down. While it disturbed me that someone had said this I assured her that I would be more sure than ever that there was nothing left behind. But like I said before I'm still not sure why anything was said since I am extremely paranoid about leaving any trace that I was ever even in the office.

The next morning I ran into the IT guy and he asked if our administrator had said something to me. I told him about the conversation the day before and said that he had even heard some rude comments about it. While he doesn't have kids he completely supports what I do. He said that one of them actually asked why I couldn't just go in the bathroom. His response was perfect. He asked them if they would like to go in the bathroom and eat and that's when the person dropped it. The IT guy also said he expects the wet marks on the desk were from other executive's that use the office from time to time. I was just getting blamed because I'm an easy target.

To cap off the week on Friday morning I was talking to someone and they told me that at this point my daughter was getting no nutritional value from nursing and that there was really no benefit. He said it was a lifestyle choice and that making a consecssion for me to have a room to pump in is liken to letting gay couples have rights in the work place. He said it was all about lifestyle choice and I could just give my daughter formula and save the hassle for everyone. At this point I ended the conversation. That kind of stupid logic I just can't deal with.

The funny thing about all this is it took me pumping at the office for almost 10 months before this stuff was ever said!! Reaslly! I honestly expected this kind of thing to come up much earlier if it was.

So why am I posting this. Well first off to share my story. I refuse to back down on this. Luckily the health care reform law was passed in March. This guarantees me that my employer can not ask me to pump in the bathroom. It specifically says that until she turns 1 I am entitled to pump in that office.

The entire situation last week enraged and frustrated me. I now know why so many women who work full time give up pumping when faced with these obstacles. If I had not been better informed or as educated regarding the law and my companies policies I could have easily backed down. Luckily I know what I can and can't do and stood my ground.

So what happens now. Well I am collecting information and printout to keep with me at work. I want to be able to pull this stuff out a moment's notice. I also hope that what has happened to me won't happen to any other woman that wants to pump at work. I plan on giving a copy of pertinant information such as the law and company policies to our administrators so that they can also help since most of the time they are just the messangers of the news.

If you have any comments or suggestions I would be happy to hear them!


Natalie said...

That really stinks. :(

Though I do know that the majority of the nutrition your baby receives is from breast milk until they are about a year old.

After a year, I would expect her to eat table food. But I wouldn't waste money on formula if you didn't have to. You should tell that dude that stuff costs mucho dinero.

Just ridiculous. I hope it all works out for you.

Katrina said...

The ignorance abounds. You are a hero for sticking it out, and for writing about it. I think most of us who have pumped at work can relate.