"I was the first woman in my [high-end, luxury jewelry store] to ever have taken maternity
leave and come back to work in its 32 years of existence. Everyone else who worked in sales was an older woman whose children were already grown up or who didn’t have them. Or a man.
As a commission-based employee, my livelihood depended on my relationships with my clients. My clients would regularly come to the store and it was understood that if your client came in, they would come look for you -- their regular salesperson -- about what they were looking to buy.
I pumped at work after a 12-week maternity leave and I was given a temporary utility closet to pump in (though I was walked in on, oh, about 6 separate times). Sadly, I was never one of those women that could pump two Medela bags full in 10 minutes like some of my friends. So I would go downstairs and each trip would take me about 45 minutes. I pumped 4 times a day and while my manager never said I couldn’t do it, she was completely unsupportive.
Whenever one of my regular clients came in, she told the rest of the floor team that they should just treat me as if I weren’t there. Meaning they were not allowed to tell me that one of my clients was there and interrupt my pumping sessions (which I would have happily done). Luckily, some of my girlfriends would text me to tell me to come upstairs for a client -- but they would have gotten into major trouble if my manager had found out.
Her attitude was, “If Brianna chooses to pump, that’s her choice. She’s not working during that time.” The worst part was that she was also a mom. She just had decided to feed her baby formula and I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t more supportive."