Pumping in Penn Station

I have pumped in every bathroom in Penn Station. NJ Transit is too rushed and there aren’t enough stalls. The LIRR has ample room but is NEVER clean. My bathroom of choice these days is the newly renovated Amtrak area. Not too much of a wait, lots of stalls so people aren’t banging on the door, and it’s typically the cleanest of the bunch. When I commute into the city, I have to plan my entire day around when and where I’m going to pump. I bring my small, manual pump that fits in my tote, usually concealed in an old plastic bag from Target. (read more…)

What Being a Very New Mother Feels Like

It feels like when I’m happy — even gleeful — to be apart, some little interior elf is also uneasily missing her. When I return to find her safe and happy, I’m momentarily thrilled before becoming frustrated at the unrelenting grind of her care.

It feels like trying to describe your “interesting” dream to someone. (read more…)

A Hairy Situation

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My partner met my parents for the first time this November. The weekend of good-natured getting-to-know you conversations culminated with a night of take-out Chinese food dinner and scouring stacks of my baby photos. As we wrapped up, my dad asked: “You ready?” I nodded.

“Hey,” I said to my partner. “I’ll be back in 15 minutes. I have to go help my dad shave his back.” My partner’s eyes widened. My dad and I headed for the bathroom. (read more…)

Milkies

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He wakes up crying from nap. He didn’t sleep long enough. Will he go back to sleep? Not this time. I wait 5, 10, 15 minutes. Still upset. I go in. “Mama up,” he says, big wet tears on his face. “Do you want mama to rock you?” “Yeah.” “Do you want milkies?” “Yeah.” Slowly, his breathing calms, his tears dry. We stay like this, locked together for a while in the dark, glints of sunlight arrogantly streaming through the blackout curtain. And just like that, my happy guy is back, ready to play.

I never set out to be an “extended breastfeeder.” I never thought I would be that type of mom. That was for moms who bake gluten-free zucchini muffins from scratch, not me who picks up donut holes from Krispy Kreme in Penn Station. Before I got pregnant, I remember thinking I definitely wanted to breastfeed, probably for about a year. That’s what my mom did with both me and my sister in the 80s, so I figured that’s what I would shoot for too. When my son, Walter, was born 20 months ago, my milk came in quickly and heavily. I realize in another era, I could have been hired as a wet nurse to a village and I would have enjoyed the work, too. I was blessed with a baby that took to the breast easily and that I was able to nurse with little to no discomfort. I also became a woman with a giant rack. I remember wearing nursing bras in a size J/K. J/K! Which should stand for Just Kidding! Boobs should never be that big. (read more…)

“Do you want kids?”

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“Do you want kids?”

This is possibly one of the most fraught things you can ask a woman, and at 33 years old, with a new fetus or baby popping up on my social media feeds every day, I hear this inquiry – real or implied – pretty frequently. Putting aside for a moment whether you want to share this personal information with the person asking you, what if you don’t even know what the answer is? What if you can honestly imagine your life both ways?  (read more…)