October 5, 2009

The 15 Minute Pervert

May I re-emphasize to you just how difficult it is to be a resident and lactating mother?

I have explained how as a resident, I'm constantly going from place to place and don't have a steady location for pumping. Last week we had seminars in a new part of the hospital. We were given a tour and this allowed me to check out my prospects. In between lectures I returned to the one room with a manual lock. As I looked around to make sure I wouldn't be intruding, a man startled me from behind and angrily asked "can I HELP YOU?" The look in his eye was so vicious that I stood there almost unable to reply. I finally mumbled something like "sorry, was wondering if anyone needed this room. . ." His response was a condescending "YEAH" as he glanced at his beloved coffee machine.

At this point I was able to turn and face him, he then realized I was a doctor from my white coat and not some rapscallion out to take his treats. That's when I said firmly "I need to be alone for 15 minutes." The man's eyebrows raised when he heard that, and his cheeks pinked up as he looked upon my mysterious leather bag. Quickly he pulled out his keys to usher me into another room, no longer making eye contact with me. Now he was the one mumbling, "I'd put a 'Do Not Disturb' sign if I were you."

The man's reaction left me wondering, what the heck does he think I'm doing for fifteen minutes in a private room? Clearly he didn't want to know.

There were no materials to make a sign, so I found a place in the back of the room and barricaded the door with a chair and a foot stool. About five minutes into pumping I heard keys turning. . . "I'm in here!" I yelled out. No use, my words could not be heard over the banging of the door against my makeshift barricade. -Wouldn't that be a hint to most people not to come in?!

Finally a man pokes his head through and sees me sitting there with my back towards him and two tubes coming out of my torso that meet a strange machine, which happens to make a sucking sound. He might as well have seen a ghost, he was that mortified.

I can just imagine the conversation in the break room that day, the one about that pervert resident and her 15 minutes of shame.


Marketing Mama said...

So sorry to hear this happened. I have had almost the exact same thing happen to me before. Getting walked in on sucks... but remember that YOU aren't doing anything to be embarrassed about. YOUR baby is super lucky to have you as a mom.

Maybe you can carry a little post it note pad and a pen in your bag from now on and write BREASTFEEDING MOM PUMPING IN THIS ROOM. That will keep those pesky men out.

Recovering Procrastinator said...

It's so hard to keep up with pumping when you don't have a comfortable place to do it and you have to worry about things like being walked in on. It hurts your production too.

Please don't give up though. I gave up with my first partly because I had to pump in a small portion of the woman's restroom that had a locking door. It was cold, not very pleasant smelling and lots of times people tried to come in and complained loudly about the locked door. I wish I had stuck it out.

I wish you the best of luck. You did a great job standing your ground with that first guy.

That Danielle said...

I think the first guy probably had no idea what you would want to use the room for. Men are oblivious! Unless they currently or recently had partners who were pumping, I doubt most men even know what a pump is or that not all bottles contain cow's milk or formula. And even more of them are just dumb about breastfeeding in general.

Perhaps make a sign and pack it along with a roll of tape in your pumping kit - maybe have two signs - one explicit and one vague. "Please do not enter. I am pumping my breast milk for my child." and "If this sign is on the door, please do not enter even if you have keys."

Keep on keepin on. Pumping moms are the hardest workin moms in the biz! I have so much respect for you.

Michele said...

I agree with all the above posts. You have NOTHING to feel embarrased about. What a hard working, amazing mother you are!!

You should feel PROUD of yourself, and nothing less!!! I can't imagine how difficult that must be for you to juggle everything. I had the quiet privacy of my own home.
My hat is off to you!

Steph at Problem Solvin' Mom said...

So sorry you got walked in on, but I agree with the other ladies, you don't need to be embarrassed! I traveled a lot while pumping and I've pumped in more airport bathrooms than I can count and even on the highway once when I was desperate (and riding shotgun with a female coworker)