The early baby months can be pretty tough on moms — especially when it comes to one rarely talked about part, that some of us deal with and most of us dread: pumping. Nearly every mom who’s ever dealt with that hunk of plastic and metal (and it’s constant thump-thumping) will tell you that the experience is both a blessing and a burden. But mostly, a burden. So it was a refreshing change of pace when I stumbled across a Facebook post about a breast pump that wasn’t actually cursing it.
“Had to ship out this dinosaur of a breast pump today (insurance only covers this one for 4 months),” it begins. “I was so emotional about saying goodbye to it that I had to take a family selfie!”
(Under the Affordable Care Act, new parents can ask their insurance companies to issue them a breast pump in order to support breastfeeding for the first few months of newborn care — a valuable resource which Aela tells Babble she’s feels grateful for.)
“Oh, Dino Medela, how you’ve become part of this crew,” the post continues, as Mass bids it farewell. “I’ll miss our middle-of-the-night sessions, our pumping-at-work sessions, our are-you-kidding-me-I-have-to-pump-again sessions. People tease you about your size, but you’ll always be my first love, you brawny pump, you. Thanks for helping to keep our sweet daughter fed. You really have been the best.”
As Mass tells Babble:
“I started pumping pretty much right away because our daughter had a rather bad case of jaundice, so she needed to eat more than most newborns and more frequently, too. Other than getting used to feeling like an industrial cow, pumping was issue-free from the get-go.”
Pumping, as laborious and annoying as it can be for a lot of us moms, often becomes a huge part of our daily lives. And as such, there are always big emotions that go along with the process — including the part where when the time of pumping comes to an end.
“I was so emotional to get rid of that pump! It DID feel like a family member, and that’s why I wanted to take a family selfie with it,” Mass tells Babble. “It was such a big part of my day, and such a big part of being able to feed our daughter — especially after I returned to work; and it was such a big part of allowing my wife to also feed our daughter. After I took that picture and brought the pump to get shipped out, I actually got a little teary eyed saying goodbye to it. It’s been almost a week, and I still miss it! Haven’t been able to ‘bond’ with my new one the same way!”
If you’ve followed Mass’s writing, either on her personal blog or right here on Babble, then you might be familiar with her Herculean effort to become successfully pregnant in the first place. Both Mass and her wife suffered through heartbreaking miscarriages before starting the long, and often discouraging, road of IVF. In many ways, that difficult journey — and its eventual happy ending — is what ultimately led her to feel especially grateful for even being able to pump at all.
“To be honest, after all the ‘work’ it took to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and then birth our daughter, pumping felt like a breeze!” says Mass. “And even in the middle of the night, tired and half asleep with a machine pulling milk from me, I just felt so grateful to be able to be pumping, to be providing my daughter with food — my DAUGHTER! Alive and well. And how amazing it was for me to be able to provide for her.”
Of course, Mass totally gets the struggle that is pumping for most new moms. For those who are just starting out (and cursing their “dino” of a breast pump morning, noon, and night), Mass has this advice to offer:
“Learn to love it. Find a way,” she says. “It’s such a gift to be able to feed your child, even if you can no longer breastfeed for whatever reason (for me, it was because of my return to work). And find one you like! All pumps are NOT created equal.”
(Ain’t that the truth.)
So keep it up, mamas who pump — even if you’re struggling right now, you’re doing great. And one day, you might just miss that giant hunk of plastic and metal, too. (Yes, even with all its irritating thump-thumping.)