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Dressed For Work

The women checking me in said,

“Ms. Simpson, business dress is required, didn’t you read the email?”

I look around and see young men in ill-fitting blue suits and young women in grey skirts and uncomfortable shoes. I reflected on what I was wearing: slacks, a tailored sweater, black dress shoes, and a colorful wrap.

She was right I am not dressed for business. Not her business at least.

My business is the business of childbearing women. And this is not the uniform for those who I have the pleasure to serve. The women I serve walk naked in the halls of their homes. They kneel and squat on hospital floors. They push and moan, and between contractions tell me where the unfound objects are stored.

They run their house. They know their power.

Their power is not held by the threads on their body, but by the body itself. They bear children into the world on waves of water, sweat and blood. And at the end, when they smile, it is the truest thing they have ever known.

These women, who bear pain and ridicule just to feed their child the milk that has been tested by evolution, will look to the people who wear “business dress” for help and sanctuary. Only to be buffeted and battered by a glance at a watch, book knowledge, policy, a click of a pen, and fear of the information not given.

This morning when I pulled the wrap out of the dryer and flung it around my shoulders,

I didn’t even think about it.

I just put it on and got about getting things done. My wrap is all about my business. It has been peed on, spat-up on, and it has covered the milk that has leaked through my shirt. It has been a rebozo, a swaddling blanket and laid out on the ground for a spontaneous picnic in the park. It has been wrapped around the shoulders of my sisters and my dying mother. I have dried eyes with it and used it for comfort when cold winds came my way.

So she was right, this women behind the desk,

I was not dressed in business dress. I was dressed for work.

-Author, Jollina Simpson, IBCLC

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