Many women find it difficult to leave their infants on that first day back from maternity leave, but I was not one of them. I loved my work. I have always been a passionate advocate for the advancement of women and girls, and I had been offered my dream job directing the fundraising efforts of a national women’s leadership organization. The salary was enough to allow me the peace of mind that comes with leaving a child in the hands of a skilled and loving caregiver—a privilege too many working mothers cannot afford—and I had even negotiated for a private room where I could pump breast milk.
As I got dressed for that first morning back, I couldn’t imagine I’d have to compromise on anything: career, marriage, raising a family, keeping our home life running smoothly while advancing the cause of women and girls. I left my apartment confident I would be successful doing it all. That illusion lasted six hours.
Work was a whirlwind. I was so consumed with getting up to speed and running from meeting to meeting that by the time I realized I’d forgotten to pump, milk was leaking through my blouse onto my suit jacket. To add insult to injury, the “private room” I had negotiated turned out to be a bathroom stall.
NATIONAL MUSEUM OF AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY & CULTURE | WASHINGTON, DC
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution. (Website).