Part 1 of a 2-part series on being a pumping mom out in the world
NOTHING BUT UNACCEPTABLE OPTIONS
I'm often asked why I put myself through so much to create Ceres Chill. Mostly by guys. No mom who has ever had to pump ever asks me why. Pumping moms totally get it. Life without messy, clunky, short-lived coolers is AH-MAY-ZING.
The precise day and hour that Ceres Chill was born: My first day back to work in the office. I was so proud of myself for making pumping happen. I had the pump and all the parts. I was doing this! I finished my first pump session and then...just stared at the super-obvious plastic bottles of breastmilk lined up on my desk in my toasty warm office, which opens onto a hallway full of pretty much all men and thought…now what?
My working-mama friends told me that I had to buy the dreaded cooler. I refused. There had to be a better way. My life as a new mom trying to pump was hard enough. I needed something that could last for my commute and a long workday while also being compact and maybe even a little stylish.
Denied! The big ol’ coolers were all that was out there. "You just have to deal with it” was the message I got loud and clear.
Seriously. Another bag to carry? More plastic to hand-wash and sanitize? Chemical freeze packs that only lasted for a few hours and I had to remember to refreeze all the time? Not to mention, the clunky, icky cooler was basically a broadcast to all of the guys I worked with that I was lactating. I'm proud to be breastfeeding, but it just wasn’t the topic I wanted to lead with in the office or while commuting.
My frantic, desperate and totally fruitless search for a compact, “rechargeable,” long-lasting, easy-to-clean unicorn of breastmilk storage turned up NOTHING. Great friend and seasoned working mom, Helen, got tired of seeing me creeping down the halls with my milk in paper bags to hide in the back of the communal fridge — more about the crazy COVID impacts on this in my next post. She bought me an annoying cooler.
THE PROBLEM WOKE ME UP
I was actually pretty angry that moms were given no option except big, unreliable coolers. This lack of safe breastmilk storage was part of a bigger system that failed to support women trying to be mothers and return to their lives out in the world.
That’s when I decided I would make this Chiller happen for all women — first responders, postal workers, soldiers, doctors, nurses, realtors, caterers, teachers, exclusive pumpers — all of them.
WOW, THAT WASN'T EASY
Bringing Ceres Chill into being nearly did me in. I managed to give myself stress-induced shingles and pushed myself through 2-3 hours of sleep each night for about 14 months. But I DID IT.
Really, WE DID IT. I see all of the Ceres Chill mamas as members of the team that made this happen. Your support and stories have sustained me, and helped me make the solution just right for many scenarios I hadn't been aware of. Because of all of you, I know that greatness happens when we come together as women in support of each other and in furtherance of a common goal. Ceres Chill changes lives. I'm so proud of all we've done and all that we will do.
A PLEASURE TO LEAVE THIS BEHIND
Just for fun, here's photographic evidence of my crazy pumping journey before Ceres Chill to show you just how bad it can be when you are trying to live, work and pump while also dealing with serious sleep deprivation and long days away from your baby.
UGLY: I forgot the cooler and the plastic bottles. A 4 hour drive home after a very long legal deposition. So…Banquet glasses and bags of ice from a bar. ABSURD: Done with a court hearing. Nowhere with an outlet for my pump except the super fab, very frigid supply closet. WOW: Take a look at Mama now! Everything I need to double pump included in one Ceres Chill.
Let's all enjoy a vastly improved pumping life!