Monday, April 16

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"I breastfed during an interview and..."

by Monica Paxson



I was heavily pregnant and leading a presentation about Desktop Publishing in 1988 at a huge trade show in Chicago's McCormick Place as part of my job doing outbound sales of Macintosh computer systems for an Apple dealer.

A middle-aged gentleman saw me and asked for my card after the presentation.


He said he'd call me.

A few weeks after the baby was born he called and invited me to interview for a job to develop a professional DTP curriculum for a large public college.

He was the department head of a printing and graphic arts program that had just built a brand new computer lab.

“Would I be interested in teaching a couple of afternoons a week,” he asked, “and could I come for an interview the following day?”

I explained to him that I was home with the new baby and I had no sitter arrangements for her yet.

He said that it would be okay if I brought her.

While it seemed highly unusual, I readily agreed.

When I arrived with the baby in a stroller I learned that the Department Head would be meeting and interviewing another man for a different teaching position at the same time.

So the three of us sat on swivel stools and conversed while the baby slept.

But at some point, baby came awake and started crying because she was hungry.

I didn't really want to leave the conversation, so I did what seemed like the most natural and expedient thing to do.

I swiveled toward my little girl, picked her up and pushed my nipple into her mouth.

I threw a baby blanket over my shoulder and continued the interview.

No one dropped a beat and to his eternal credit, he hired me and I taught there for several years.

To my knowledge, I am the only woman I am aware of who breastfed during an interview and still got the job.

***


Monica Paxson is a publisher and best-selling author of My Life on Earth: A Memoir.

Paxson lives in Chicago.

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