When I imagined my journalism career, I never imagined myself playing red shir in the White House's shared bathroom.
But that's exactly where I found myself in November as a new mother who came back from maternity leave to take care of the President's baby care.
For many breastfeeding mothers, hiding in the bathroom is a common situation where they want to find a private place in the workplace to cheer up the milk.
But this is a condition that the White House has been trying to eliminate.
Under President Barack Obama's new health care law, employers with more than 50 workers need to provide a private breastfeeding space for nursing mothers a year after delivery, rather than a restroom.
White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said: "One of the most common reasons for the mother's reference to stop breastfeeding is to return to work without a break or private space to express milk, "the President's Committee on Women and girls wrote an article on the president's health care law in December.
White House blog post 2010
So why am I stuck in the bathroom, right at the address generated by the need for a nursing room? [
Care and work: Yahoo!
News chat about pumping water and privacy]
After giving birth to my first child last summer, I struggled with breastfeeding.
But after three months, the care finally became relaxed.
My baby is healthy and I feel good.
So when I get back to work, I'm not going to give up nursing, although I know it means drinking milk during working hours.
When I learned that I was going to be assigned to the White House, I barely realized how challenging it would be, and the only room that the nursing reporter could use in this place was two separate restrooms ---
One of them is male and female.
Maybe you will remember that these restrooms have recently become famous for being the preferred place for Al Locke to handle dirty underwear?
I came in November.
30 The first day I went to work at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, with pumping equipment in my hand.
As a new member of the White House news area-
A "office" with no office manager, no employer on site, no desk in the shared news area or space to call myself "---
I think it would be better to introduce myself to the media store and explain my situation in person.
I tried to resist the bathroomas-lactation-
The first day, the room is OK as long as I can.
But when I can't stand it anymore
Read: pain due to swelling, leakage and discomfort)I gave in.
I checked my options.
The booth restroom has a chair or a place to sit in addition to the lid-
There are fewer toilet seats. this is the first time I am disappointed.
I don't have a countertop to install the device.
I don't know what I should do.
But I tried it.
I locked the door to the unisex bathroom. -
Larger than the lady's room because of accessibility-
And try to connect the bottles to the valve, to the flange, without letting them touch the bathroom sink.
I put them back in my pump bag and undressed from the waist.
I put a hand on.
Free bus, connect left and right pumps, connect them to the machine.
I briefly thought about sitting on the side of the toilet seat, but finally decided to stand in the corner.
For 15 minutes, I 've stood next to a pump with a loud whistle, trying not to think about how clean the place is or what happened in the noisy news lunch area on the other side of the door.
It is more difficult to unlock the device as it involves careful balance with my hands, elbows and chin to avoid milk spills and pack all the equipment.
That was when I asked to brief the White House press staff about me.
"I'm pumping water in a unisex bathroom," I told them . ".
I have been told that the White House has been worried that there is no breastfeeding room in the media, but there is no solution at the moment.
Under the law of the President, it is my employer's responsibility to provide a space for a pump.
But I don't understand how this could be an answer for any journalist who has space at the White House.
Yahoo doesn't even have a designated chair in the news office, let alone a private space or "booth" with locked doors.
Other elected officials have tried to serve nursing mothers in public buildings. When Rep.
Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, has set up nursing rooms in the Capitol and has provided nursing rooms to members of Congress, visitors and the media.
The White House is a very small building with limited space. journalists can't walk in the hall. there are major security procedures, which makes the White House more difficult.
So I continued to pump water in the bathroom, switching between the female washroom and the unisex bathroom.
I started skipping one or two of the three pumping times a day, sometimes reducing the time to 5 minutes or 10 minutes instead of 15 minutes.
I tried to put the towel in the sink or lay on the floor.
People ask, "How about the new show?
"I will talk about work and rhythm for other journalists.
For friends and family, I will talk about my daily struggle with getting angry.
My family was shocked.
My friends are very disgusted.
Members of the local mother Group I joined on maternity leave were angry.
Two weeks later, I went back to the White House press store.
I was told that they were talking to Ed Henry, president of the White House journalists association at Fox News Channel about the situation.
WHCA has jurisdiction over almost everything that happens in the News workspace.
I got in touch with Christie Parsons, White House correspondent for The Tribune, and a WHCA board member.
Parsons later wrote to me and the board had been discussing with the White House the issue of establishing a breastfeeding space, but "it seems like we have time to fix the issue because the expectant mom we want to use it doesn't need it.
"My urgent need has prompted Parsons and other board members to contact Henry for informal arrangements.
Parsons first asked me to contact Ryan on April, a White House reporter and director of the Washington bureau of the American urban broadcasting network, and the next day, on January, he provided me with her booth. 11.
This is a great relief.
This is my first time at the White House and I don't have to do stress and unsanitary bathroom balancing moves.
I finally worked out a framework at the White House to support people.
I carefully started talking to other women in the White House corps group to find out how my previous breastfeeding mother did that.
The answer is not encouraging.
Ryan is one of the lucky people to use her little one
The radio station.
She asked the general service to install curtains on her glass door and successfully pumped for two children instead of one in an interview with President George W. Bush.
I 've heard from other women that they shared a bigger news booth with their colleagues while working at the White House and expelled their companions for privacy.
Other women gave up nursing altogether.
A colleague asked the White House about providing accommodation and said she did not get any help immediately.
She found the bathroom too dirty and noticed water and sanitary paper scraps on the floor.
She eventually skipped the pumping meeting at the White House and ran back to her office, feeling very unwell later in the day.
This prompted her to wean her earlier than planned.
I thought about the same decision, but I'm not ready yet.
This is the choice I want to make for myself, not the choice my job forces me to make.
As chairman of WHCA, Henry reiterated the view that our employer should provide pumping space.
But, he said, "You can't just come over and hire a contractor to build a nursing room on government property.
Henry said that WHCA has been discussing with the White House the establishment of a nursing area in a building opposite Lafayette Park.
But this requires escort and travel through multiple security checkpoints.
What Henry said does not seem "feasible" to professional mothers ".
Over the next few weeks, I can also borrow booths from other news shows to play.
Even temporary changes are amazing. -
Getting angry at work is no longer a disgusting experience.
Finally, on January 25, Henry announced that WHCA had reached an agreement with the Christian Broadcasting Network and the CBC/Radio.
Canada used the booths shared by the two news agencies as pumping spaces.
It changed my life.
Every morning, I will list the estimated time I want to use the booth by email and we will make a schedule.
This is also good news for the White House and WHCA.
"It's an annoying issue, part of it being bureaucracy, part of it being uplifting because it's really good to be able to help a professional mother," Henry said . ".
"The only regret I have here. . .
We can't do anything earlier.
Henry praised White House deputy press secretary Jamie Smith for being "stubborn" in trying to help the association solve the problem ".
When I asked Smith to comment on the situation and results I faced at the White House, she replied: "The White House is committed to ensuring that breastfeeding mothers have the space and resources they need.
Under the leadership of the White House Press Association, the staff of the presidential office worked hard to develop a solution for journalists reporting on the White House, and we continue to explore other options on campus.