When your dad-in-law wants to learn about pumping milk

Whenever I’ve shared with colleagues or distant friends that my in-laws are going to visit or are in town, their initial reaction is always one of “ugh” or “poor you.” But I always end up correcting them and telling them that I love my in-laws, that they are fun and enjoyable to be with, that they are kind, genuinely good people who seem to at least try to see the best in everything and everyone. I always look forward to their visits, I look forward to our visits to Australia to see them, and I always inevitably feel sad when their visit is coming to an end.

I wasn’t sure how they would react to my pumping schedule or the fact that I spend four hours a day connected to an electric nipple sucker, but they never reacted negatively to any of the pumping or the fact that my nipples were out all the time, regardless of whether I was sitting there talking to them or cutting fruit or playing with the baby. They just took it all in stride. Chris’s mom asked questions about my schedule, how often and for how long I pumped, when I planned to wean off of pumping, and that was really it. After the first couple of days, it just seemed to be a normal thing they saw and it was just as everyday as seeing someone put on their jacket. In fact, Chris’s dad was so curious to understand how it all worked that he actually asked me about my different pump settings, what they did and meant, how I changed the settings and when, and whether the pump actually hurt me. These were all unexpected questions, but I found it sweet and endearing that he had the curiosity and courage to ask.

It’s why I love having my in-laws around. They are genuinely kind, loving, supportive, amazing people. I’ve never felt judged or insulted or upset by pretty much anything they’ve ever done. They are so well meaning, perhaps even to a fault. Chris’s mom preemptively even apologizes for things she overthinks that could have been offensive but were never actually offensive!

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