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Friday, September 28, 2007I have no doubt that many of you have been wondering why I haven't mentioned Sophie Currier or her fight to gain time to pump during her medical boards.
The reality is, I simply haven't felt prepared enough to write fairly about it. By that, I mean I didn't feel I had enough information to argue for or against her. Even now, I've heard a million different arguments on both sides and have a hard time keeping everything straight. As you guys know, I try not to jump on issues with my gut, so in a case like this one, it can be difficult for me to form an opinion I'm willing to share publicly.
Now it may seem like a clear cut case. A mom needs an accommodation to allow her to pump. She should get it, right?
Well, perhaps. I'm cautious enough in my long term lactivist thinking to know there can be more to the story. So questions popped into my head...
1.) Is she the first pumping mom to take the test? Have there been others? Have they found the existing breaks to offer enough time? Why is she the first to petition for more time?
2.) How long is the test? How many breaks are allowed?
3.) What is her flexibility in terms of when she can/must take the test? Can she schedule it at a later date? Could she have taken it in the past? Did she take it in the past?
4.) How would her being given extra time affect the people around her. Would it give her an unfair advantage?
The list went on and on.
As you know, it's been a busy summer. One that has left me with far less time than I'd like to research such things. So for the most part, I've watched and listened and waited to form an opinion. I've had a little more time in the last week to read about the issues surrounding the case, and while I still have some mixed feelings, I'm a little more confident in my opinion.
I bet, based on the thread earlier this week, that many of you think I'm going to say she shouldn't have been given more time.
Many of you would be wrong.
My first reaction, when I heard about this incident (a while before it hit the press actually...Ms. Currier did seek to work things out before going public) was outrage. How idiotic to not allow a mother time to pump during this test. Quickly though, my critical thinking side kicked in and I found myself wondering why Ms. Currier was the first person ever to ask for or need this accommodation. After all, surely she's not the first lactating mother to sit for the medical boards, right?
That last one was answered pretty easily. It doesn't really matter if she's the first person to speak up about it. We all know that plenty of folks "suck it up" even when they shouldn't have to because they're afraid of rocking the boat. (haven't we spent the last two days discussing this very thing? While I support sucking it up in regards to "wants", I don't think a job always qualifies as an automatic "want.") I've heard from more than one women in the medical field that there are many unspoken rules and expectations and that women who "expect" anything perceived as "special" are labled as troublemakers. That leaves me not quite ready to dismiss the need for more time simply based on the idea that other women said they had enough time to pump.
I've also learned that not everyone pumps like I did. Some women genuinely need more time than others.
My second reaction was to laugh at the irony. The medical board...the people who are supposed to value and promote breastfeeding...were telling a mom she should just wean her daughter so she could pass the boards and become a doctor.