Dear Breast Pump
Dear Breast Pump,
I shouldn’t call you “dear.” You’re not “dear” to me. You’re dead to me. Now, at least.
I feel like I’ve waited so long to send you this letter. Do you know how many times I wanted to end it? Pull the plug?
Now that it’s over, I’m going to tell you how I really feel, and you are going to sit there, shut up, and listen:
I was duped, tricked into falling in love with you at first. You arrived in the mail, free, as a “gift” from my insurance company.
How could something so expensive in the stores be sent to me for free? I should have known it was a scam from the start.
I opened your packaging at least a month before she arrived, inspected all your pieces, your plastic tubes and funnel-shaped shells. I smelled them — I’m not sure what I thought they would smell like, but you and all your parts smelled so new. You were the first thing I packed in my hospital bag, even though I didn’t know if I would need you.
In fact I didn’t need you. I don’t need you.
At the hospital, I used a better, stronger version of you. That’s right, you weren’t good enough then and you aren’t good enough now. But who’m I kidding? Even that pump made my life hell for a few days.
Part of me wishes I never met either of you. That I didn’t struggle those first few days and weeks forcing a relationship with you when I could have been forging a better relationship with my baby. But everyone told me you’d be good for me, for her. It’s the only reason I gave you a chance. Boy, was I brainwashed.
Just so you know, I really tried. I dressed you up and took you out. Brought you to my work and gave you a home. I made a sign to hang on my door when we were going to spend time together. I joked about you often, and told people that I almost looked forward to our time together because that would be my “quiet time.” That’s not what you were though.
You bound me to a wall and forced me to a schedule. You made me feel like shit almost every day, more emotionally than physically, when you didn’t help me produce what I needed. You sucked me dry, but it still wasn’t enough.
OK, OK. Maybe it wasn’t all bad. Maybe I’m being a little harsh. Sometimes you surprised me and helped me reach my proudest self. Sometimes you even made me laugh. Remember that time I tried to sterilize your pieces in the microwave, even the tubes? Whew, I learned a lesson in melting plastic that day.
Look, I don’t know. It’s just that when I think of you and all that we’ve been through, I don’t feel good. I don’t feel the way I was told I would feel from the beginning of pregnancy. I was told you would help me feed my baby, but I was never told how hard it would be before I signed up. Every doctor I talked to asked me if I would nurse and use you when I returned to work, and if I hesitated, they scoffed. I was made to feel like I couldn’t say “no.” So I didn’t.
But the truth is, you ruined my experience. Because of you, here I am, feeling guilty about letting you go.
It’s just not working out for me. I try to fit time in for you several times a day, but I’m just too busy. I’m a working woman. Do you even understand what that means for a mom who has to juggle 20-minute sessions with you, plus cleaning and prepping and de-clothing in between meetings, events, work tasks? Not to mention if I want to have a life and go out with my friends. I constantly have to wonder if I’ve spent enough time with you.
The stress of worrying about you and what you do has taken its toll on me the past couple of months and brought me down to my lowest low. I feel depressed, I feel anxious and I feel worried all the time. I just want to feel happy. I just want to enjoy my baby.
I don’t want to worry about stupid fucking you.
So today’s the day we go our separate ways. I have to ignore what everyone says about you. I have to do this for me, for her. For our happiness… without you.
I don’t care if you understand. I don’t care if anyone else understands. It’s taken me way too long to get here, but I’m glad I’ve arrived.
Goodbye. I hate you. I’d light you on fire if I could.
But thank you for helping me feed my baby for the past five months. For helping her grow and thrive. She’s perfect, and for that I’ll be eternally grateful.