There is a man at work who sees me at least once a day (sometimes twice) making the long trek from my office to the Mothers' Room to pump. He is a friendly, lazy-eyed mailroom employee who is in the habit of making small-talk with everyone he passes in the hall. It is sometimes difficult to ascertain who he is addressing since his two eyes are never focusing in the same direction. I never know which one to look at when I respond to him and so I usually stare at the middle of his forehead while commenting on something banal like the weather, the impending long weekend, or the fact that it is buffalo chicken day in the cafeteria. This is a strategy that has served me well - I have even shared it with my co-workers and, though skeptical at first, they too have adopted my method with great success.
One day, however, one of his eyes caught sight of my gigantic black breast pump backpack. It's large, unwieldy, microfiber monstrosity and can hold my double flanged pump, its various accessories, and a small cooler full of 4 oz. glass baby bottles. It's pretty much the equivalent of having a flashing neon billboard with the word "LACTATING," strapped to my back. Only, this guy clearly did not see it that way at all. "Going to the gym?" he asked, one eye looking right at me and the other veering off towards the sari-enrobed Indian woman walking a few feet in front of him. I was caught off guard and by the time I realized he actually was talking to me all I could blurt out was a hesitant, " . . . yeah . . . "
Honestly, what could I say? Even if I had time to explain, and passing someone in the hall is no place for lengthy conversations, I wouldn't want to delve into the topic of breastfeeding with this man I hardly knew. I'd prefer him not to ever think of my breasts. As far as I was concerned it would be best if he didn't even know I had them. Don't ask, don't tell. Nothing to see here. Carry on. So, I let him think he was correct - I was sneaking off to the gym to jazzercise my postpartum baby weight away. Whatever. A little white lie never hurt anyone.
It's been about 6 months now, though. And after seeing me every day (sometimes twice a day) "going to the gym" I often wonder what he's thinking. I have surmised that he must think I'm a little OCD about getting in shape. And also, he must feel quite sorry for me because clearly I am doing something horribly wrong if I am working out twice a day everyday and I still have a stomach that looks like this: