As a breastfeeding mother, however, I recently had an epiphany as to the history of this common idiom; it is--without a doubt--referring to breast milk.
If you're a breastfeeding mom (particularly a working mom who has to pump continually at work), then you know the feeling of despair that follows the loss of even one drop of your precious "liquid gold." After all, you don't necessarily look forward to being hooked up to a machine that is attempting to mimic your baby's feeding habits, so it's perfectly logical to burst into tears at the end of the day when you realize that you must not have screwed the cap of the bottle on tightly enough, and your baby's meal for the next day has been steadily leaking into your lunch cooler all afternoon.
And if you work in the field like I do, then you spend half your days searching for (semi) private places to pump. To add insult to injury, you have to pump in your car because restrooms don't have an outlet in the stall (because after all I would just love to pump while sitting on the toilet in a gas station).
It's ironic that your milk production will suffer if you are feeling stressed... Wow, I can't imagine why I would feel stressed (or embarrassed. Or anxious) when I have failed AGAIN to find a private place to park my car to spend 15-20 minutes getting partially undressed and attaching myself to a contraption that makes me want to say "moo."
Women are supposed to be in a relaxed environment, with minimal distractions, preferably watching a video of their baby to encourage milk production--not watching over their shoulders to make sure no creepers are staring in my (un-tinted) car windows.
So to lighten things up, I've decided to compile a list of some of the places that I've visited while performing my motherly duties. Highlights include:
- an abandoned rock quarry in north Georgia
- every parking garage in metro Atlanta
- the parking lot of a Catholic church
- the parking lot of a Catholic preschool
- the parking lot of a Catholic high school
- outside of a hospital
- outside of Six Flags
- various city halls
- a couple of different universities (Berry College actually has a "mother's room" dedicated just for this reason)
- Atlantic Station
- I-75 (reader advisory--don't pump while driving down the interstate. You will realize a couple of ounces into the process that while the sedans and minivans driving next to you are not privvy to what you are doing under your shirt, the same cannot be said of semi truck drivers. Whose vantage point is about 7 feet above the average Toyota and angled just perfectly to see the tubes, bottle, and power cord hanging out from under my blouse. They seem very curious to what's happening udder there. Pun intended)
- the Cancer Treatment Centers of America
- a boxing gym
- a nursing home
- a cemetery (just kidding. I pulled in, got everything set up, then felt I was being sacrilegious somehow, so I settled for the parking lot of a nearby church)
- Jimmy Johns
- Several different law firms
- the side of the road
- Firehouse Subs
- more gas stations than I care to remember
On the bright side, I've acquired a whole new set of skills, and developed a different sense of what "modesty" means! Breasts are for feeding children, people.
My first experience with the pump seems just like yesterday, in which my sister-in-law had to show me how to put the darn thing together and hook it up. Sarah was about 3 days old, I was a puddle of tears (and hormones), and when Cecily pushed the "on" button, I experienced a reaction quite similar to Westley on the Princess Bride when he's strapped to "the machine" and has the life literally sucked out of him. I shrieked because I thought my skin was being ripped off, but couldn't press the power button because both hands were occupied holding the pump to my chest. I yelled for Cecily to take the thing off the highest setting (which it was surely on). To which she informed me that it was on the lowest setting possible.
But now I can eat my lunch, talk on the phone, and write in my calendar, all the while feeling pretty grateful that I'm providing Sarah with the best nutrition possible.
Now that's multi-tasking.