I started to comment this morning on an article I read on babble.com (My Medela Speaks to Me How breast pumps “talk” to new mothers, by Melissa Sher, December 2, 2010), but then the comment took on a life of its own and became a post.
An excerpt from the article:
And it was about a week into this frustrating routine that I first heard from my portable, supposedly inanimate companion. An observer — and thank goodness there weren’t any given the eye-wrenching circumstances — might have thought it was simply the pump’s repetitive wheeze. But I heard things like this:
“Uh oh. Uh oh.”
“No way. No way.”
“Stop it. Stop it.”
And I won’t even go into the swearing.
Once I started making out what sounded like words, I was taunted on a regular basis. And as if the harassment wasn’t enough, that little sucker made me feel like I was losing my mind. Who else besides a crazy woman believes her breast pump talks to her?
Me, that’s who! I was so excited to read Melissa Sher’s article on this. I’ve never heard anyone else talk about it, but like Melissa, I heard the creepy “Breast Whisperer” too. Some background: my Medela (Miss M) and I had a contentious relationship. We did not like each other. To be fair, we did not have much time to work on our relationship. We got together only for some perfunctory breast maintenance or the occasional disengorgement session. Miss M, I think, found me needy and one-dimensional. For my part, I thought she was a poser. Come on, you parade around in a black briefcase, like you’re jammed full of client files and meeting notes, but the reality is that you’re just a one-trick pony with no place to go. Now can we do this thing, or what? I mean if you don’t have something urgent to attend to like an overseas conference call or something. I admit I was mean. Sleep-deprived and wonky, yes, but still mean.
In the end, I guess we just got too intimate too fast, and that spelled trouble. So I would bad-mouth Miss M to anyone with ear holes (not because she wasn’t good at her job—she was voracious and effective—but because I resented needing her). She, on the other hand, would wait until we were alone—at night—when everyone else in the hemisphere was sleeping. Then, intermingled with the woosh-woosh of her pumping action, she would strike back, whispering cruel discouragements. One night it was a repetitive “why you?” which I chose, in my weakened state, to consider existentially. Why me, indeed. Was I really the best mother for this child? Did I have a purpose in this life? Would stretch marks ever be sexy?
Other times, it was a sarcastic “wow” or a deadpan “wahoo.” And those hurt. As it turns out, I’m highly susceptible to the psychic injury resulting from assistive device sarcasm. I’m sure it’s a psychological disorder, probably listed in the DSM-IV. I should look it up.
And though I was glad to see her go when the time came to reclaim my breasts, I still wonder about her from time to time, out there in the world, making her way in her little black briefcase, maybe showing up for job interviews at accounting firms or dairy barns or snake bite clinics.