Any mom who’s balanced working and breastfeeding will tell you that pulling it off is no small task. There’s keeping up with your pumping schedule, finding a workplace that will support you, and having the mental space to actually balance it all. Honestly, the number of women who can make it work and stay sane in the process is pretty amazing. But everyone who’s done it knows they couldn’t have done it alone. It truly takes a village to raise a child. And when it comes to breastfeeding, there may be only one woman who actually does the job, but the community she surrounds herself with and the support she receives can make a world of difference.
It turns out, even celebs need this village to make something like breastfeeding work within their busy, active, and oh-so-glamorous lives. Anne Hathaway, whose son Jonathan was born in 2016, recently shared an anecdote about breastfeeding and pumping while on set for her newly released heist movie, Ocean’s 8.
The all-female cast — which includes such badass Hollywood A-listers as Sandra Bullock and Cate Blanchett — admits they banded together to help one another out on more than one occasion. But there’s one moment in particular that still stands out to Hathaway.
Going into shooting, Hathaway expressed concern that she may not be supported as well as she hoped in maintaining her pumping/nursing schedule. But the incredible vibe created on set by these fabulous ladies quickly shut those fears down.
“I was so happy because I was breastfeeding and I had that moment where I was like, ‘Is this going to be a positive environment to be able to do that in?’ Everybody was fantastic. They understood,” she shared.
The cast even saved the day for Hathaway one day after a very long shoot. As any breastfeeding mom will tell you, our boobs don’t really take it well if they aren’t emptied on a pretty regular schedule. And on this day, Hathaway’s boobs were … well, about to burst.
Her fellow cast members didn’t miss a beat in making this fact known to the rest of the set, and immediately got Hathaway a much-needed pumping break.
“The girls just formed around me and they were like, ‘We need a break. Annie needs to go do this,’” recalled Hathaway, adding: “Who gets that? I mean, everybody should.”
Yes, they most definitely should, and it’s fabulous that Hathaway publicly acknowledged this. In fact, her experience on the set isn’t just a great model for all of us ordinary working moms, but it also had a positive impact on her co-star Mindy Kaling, who was expecting her first child at the time.
Seeing the way that Hathaway and her co-stars balanced motherhood and work was totally inspiring for Kaling.
“That was nice because, since there are so many moms here, it was nice to see, now with my daughter, that they can weave into your life seamlessly,” she remarked during the interview.
Of course, not every working/pumping mother is given the same top-notch level of support and accommodations that Hathaway did, and this is something that Hathaway herself has publicly acknowledged.
Last year, the actress, who also happens to be a UN Goodwill Ambassador, took to the UN on International Women’s Day to speak about the injustices that befall many new moms — specifically the issue of paid leave, and how rarely women are given adequate time off.
“One in four American women go back to work two weeks after giving birth because they can’t afford to take off any more time than that,” Hathaway said at the time. “That’s 25 percent of American women. Equally disturbing [is the fact that] women who can afford to take a full 12 weeks often don’t, because it will mean incurring a motherhood penalty, meaning that they will be perceived as less dedicated to their job and will be passed over for promotions and other career advancements.”
Additionally, Hathaway said that our leave policies only “undervalue fathers and overburden mothers,” because so much of the time it is the mother who shoulders the majority of childcare, whereas men are rarely the ones taking time off from their careers in order to contribute.
These issues are concerning for sure, and it’s fantastic that Hathaway is calling them out. It’s also equally awesome that she’s highlighting the true power of “the village” and the small, but meaningful ways that all of us can support each other as mothers, workers, and women.More On