I see you glancing at your overwhelming schedule for the day, evaluating how you will find time to pump milk to save for tomorrow's feedings.
I see you hauling down the halls of your workplace with your pumping materials, ready to gear up for this second full-time job of yours.
Working, pumping mama—I see you.
I see you make a quick escape from meetings early and tiptoe into meetings late, to honor your appointments with the pump.
I see how innovative you are, setting up shop in uncomfortable conditions and as long as you can park yourself near an outlet, figuring it out.
I see your tired eyes trying to stay open with the monotonous rhythm of the breast pump tempting them to close.
I see you counting every ounce, as you also count how much more time you can afford to spend pumping. After all, your actual paid job demands your attention between the times you are not working behind the pump.
I see you strategizing when you have to travel and won't have access to an outlet by packing manual pump parts and ice packs to cool your freshly-pumped milk.
I see you pumping in the car like it's second nature while side-eyeing anyone who passes by with an expression of disdain.
I see you holding onto those eight-ounce bottles for dear life—tiptoeing to deliver them safely to the nearest fridge.
I see your care in avoiding a disastrous spill because if you lose this milk, you will also lose your cool.
Dear working, pumping mama—I see you.
I see you on the brink of giving up when your supply is low and your mood is lower.
I see you passing the aisles of pricey formula on grocery store shelves, attempting to delay that investment a little longer. You know that feeding your child is a double-edged sword requiring either an investment of time or money.
I see you rising in the middle of the night to pump and relieve your engorged breasts when the baby doesn't wake to nurse.
I see you waking for the day a few hours later, mentally preparing to do it all again.
I see you tracking your inventory of frozen milk like it's a business transaction.
I see you planning how many bags you will need to sustain your baby through late workdays or work trips that will require you to be away.
I see your smile when the doctor weighs your little one and their weight gain is sufficient.
I see your joy when another month passes and you realize you have found the strength to persevere in this journey.
Working, pumping mama, your sacrificial love does not go unseen. Remember that regardless of whether your baby is fed by your breast, pumped milk, food or formula—the ultimate source of nourishment is a mother's love.
For a mother's love never dries up or runs out—it is indispensable.