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Why Corporate Lactation?

What is it and why you should care?

Corporate Lactation is intentional lactation support to resources working within corporations and both big and small businesses. It is designed to support resources both in and out of the office when it comes to juggling their breastfeeding goals and professional priorities. It is something that bubbled up in my mind when I left Corporate America and had the mental space to think of filling the gaps I encountered while at work. The gaps at work I experienced began before maternity leave and varied at different points of my pregnancy and postpartum. In order to understand the need and importance of Corporate Lactation, you have to understand the prequel. Let's start with my pregnancy.


Picture this. I am 9 months pregnant walking into my last role before maternity leave.


I am tired and capable. Exhausted and intelligent. Creating and creative.


I was assigned to this role by a Senior Manager who I enjoyed working with and had been helpful in my career thus far. Let's call this Senior Manager Nick. The client I was working with was a repeat client which whom I worked with previously and had a great working relationship. It was a Friday morning and I was walking to my new desk to meet the client's point of contact for the project. Let's call this person Nancy. Nancy although already informed that I was in the last stretch of my pregnancy seemed a bit stunned to see me and my belly. She smiled and outstretched her hand for a handshake before showing me around. I confirmed with her the scope of the work and the timeline as previously discussed with Nick. Apparently this particular role had been open for months and the client was ecstatic to fill it. The project was a light lift and the timeline was slated for a few weeks, perfect for me. I got settled into my desk and did the thing all consultants do the first day of a project; wait to get access to the system and get organized to the best of their ability on their end. The end of the day rolled near and I told Nancy I would see her Monday morning bright and early.


Monday morning rolls around and I head to my desk and open Outlook to search for approval emails so I can get started. However, I didn't find any approval emails. What I found was an email from Nick stating that the project I was just staffed to the prior business day was now miraculously filled internally and I was no longer needed. I reread the email multiple times to make sure that I could indeed read English. I messaged Nick and he didn't have any more information and told me I could head home for the day. He would reach out to me if another project showed itself. As I gathered my things to head home, I had a few things running through my mind:


  • Did a woman really see me pregnant and automatically assume I was incapable?

  • I wonder what she said to management to have them agree to this unfairness.

  • Why couldn't they have said this before I got up at 6am, got ready, and got on 495 South for this almost 1.5hr commute to work?!



I was furious! I didn't have input to remain chargeable and stay in this role. I didn't have any opportunity to prove myself. I didn't have any chance to do great work and make an impact. I also didn't have any internal systems where I could report the discrimination and feel safe doing so. I felt pretty helpless and that is one of the worst feelings in this corporate space.


Feeling helpless is normally fortified by the lack of support for resources. The lack of systems to truly support mothers in the workplace normally shows itself before any child is born. It is a preview of the support or lack thereof that mothers will experience once they do give birth. Honestly looking back, as someone who suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum during my pregnancy, the absence of that last role did wonders for my physical body. Not so much my mental health because I overrun with worries about being fired right before giving birth. But my body thanked that awful Nancy because I could vomit in peace at home.


Come back for the next post to actually get to my point of Corporate Lactation; why it is imperative and why you should care about it too.


 


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