I had been wondering when it would happen.
Yesterday, after two months back at work, emerging from what was approximately my eighty-third time pumping in a small conference room at the office--someone finally asked.
"So, what's with the 'Privacy Please: Do Not Enter' sign?"
"Well, 'Don't open this door unless you want to be scarred for life' wouldn't fit on a sign," I replied.
"I'm pumping my breasts," I actually said.
The one male colleague witnessing this exchange covered his ears in jest as three women proceeded to chime in with their breastfeeding experiences--whose child would or wouldn't take a bottle, who pumped and didn't, and even a story of nursing while sitting on a crate in the aisle of a grocery store.
This went on for a few minutes, and I felt relieved to have finally explained myself (to half of my department, at least). I'm not embarrassed of it, obviously, but it is an awkward topic to bring up, and I'm always self-conscious about walking from my office (which is nice but doorless and not soundproof) to my "pumping room" carrying my pump twice a day. Since the pump bag is designed to be discreet and look like a large purse, I always worry people think I'm coming in really late or leaving really early, or returning from a long lunch at 2:30!
Overall, though, pumping at work has been easier than I expected. The hardest part is finding some pencil-and-paper work to do while I'm in there! (It's funny how computer-bound we are. I have to remind myself to save certain tasks like brainstorming, reviewing print proofs, and reading mail for pumping time.) The room is clean and seldom-used, and there's a phone so I can check in on Kate while I'm in there too.
Most importantly, I have never been barged in on once, thanks to my sign, which has now caused my male colleague significant emotional distress while giving my female colleagues and I some fodder for closer personal connection. Say what you want about certain guys being "breast men," but there's nothing like breastfeeding to bring women together.