A "wellness room" it is not

Let me begin this post by giving all due credit to my employer. As a young and still relatively small company, they have put forth great effort to making the few lactating mothers' lives easier, supplying not only a private, locked room, but a Medela Pump in Style breast pump, a mini fridge for storing expressed milk, a closet for storing supplies, and a comfy red arm chair in which to recline whilst being milked.

They have also gone to great pains to be as politically correct about this as possible.

During my first couple of months back at work, there was simply no sign on the door, and it was referred to only in vague terms, like "the set-up" or occasionally "the mother's room." More often it was merely a gesture in that direction accompanied by a knowing grunt or an "I'm off to take care of business" (winkwink nudgenudge).

Invariably, this lack of outright acknowledgement led to some confusion. I'd occasionally find some well-meaning (almost always male) colleague availing himself of the room and the cozy chair in order to get some work done in peace, or open the door to a thicket of whiteboards that someone had decided to store there. After one too many of these incidents, it was decided by people who are more politically correct than I that we needed to somehow acknowledge the purpose of this room with signage. The name they chose? The "Wellness Room."

What I think of when I hear "Wellness"

This is a decidedly inaccurate moniker. First, like most blatantly PC phrases, it does, at best, an extremely poor job of communicating what it was intended to communicate. At least the term "Mothers' Room" is usually enough to scare away anyone who isn't lactating, but "Wellness Room" practically invites you in to take a nap.

Second, if you are under the impression that pumping breast milk has anything to do with my "wellness," you are goddamn crazy. To me, the term "wellness" conjures images of yoga, spa days, healthy foods, relaxation.

Pumping is none of those things.

What I look like when I think about pumping.
Pumping involves hooking yourself up to a tiny machine that sounds like a piece of heavy industrial equipment; having your nipples repeatedly tugged on for anywhere between 10 and 20 minutes until they look more like udders; unstrapping yourself from the apparatus; pouring your bounty (which never seems like enough for the amount of effort that went in) into plastic baggies; and then depositing it in the freezer to be removed at some later date, defrosted, poured from bag to bottle, and finally delivered into your child by someone who likely isn't you. Unlike breastfeeding, pumping sucks out not only milk but a part of your soul.

Wellness it is not.

Side note: for all the mommies who have to pump exclusively for whatever reason, you, ladies, are fucking heroes. Do not let anyone tell you differently.

In that spirit, allow me to suggest a few terms that I feel would be more appropriate to describe the purpose of this room. Let's call a spade a spade, people.
  • Lactation Station
  • The Dairy Shed
  • The Milking Barn
  • Suction Junction
  • The Pumping Station
I invite you to share additional ideas in the comments. The more crass they are, the better.


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