If you know anything about me, you know I love Carnival. I have been attending Trinidad and Tobago’s Carnival since 2008. The people, the music, the food, the break from my normal life to let go, be free, fete, get on, and take the stage!! 2017 was the first year I was unable to attend, as 2 weeks before I found out I was pregnant and we didn’t want to take any risks with Zika.
This year, only 4 months after giving birth to Geneva and less than a month before returning to my job, I was encouraged to go blow off some steam by my husband and attend Carnival. As the date got closer, I started having second thoughts about being away from her. I micromanaged everything so that George would not have to worry about most things. I’d been pumping like crazy and had a nice breastmilk stash, I laid out all of her clothes for the next week, packed for her trip, baby food was made….everything was done. Overboard? I think not.
I arrived in Trinidad, hung out with friends, went to a few fetes and finally relaxed a bit. It was indeed what I needed. Each morning and evening, George would Facetime me so that I could see that they were doing well and she was smiling. He did an excellent job making me feel less guilty about being away.
Fast forward to Carnival Monday. I’d been wondering how I would pump my milk on the road. When you “Play Mas”, there is no breastfeeding facility. This is where having such an awesome crew and support system comes in. I LOVE LPTS. My good friend Natasha that just happens to be an Obstetrician packed a manual breast pump for me, because Mommy brain caused me to forget to pick one up. In my skimpy Monday wear, there was nowhere for me to store my pump, so my boy Ron volunteered to store my pump in his backpack. He checked in often to see if I needed it.
When we finally got to our lunch spot, instead to encouraging me to pump in a bathroom stall, or take a long walk to find some privacy, my crew surrounded me with love and support. My girl Yaisa covered me so that I was comfortable and unexposed as I prepared. Then right there in the middle of thousands of friends and strangers……I pumped. I don’t recall getting any crazy looks. People asked if I needed anything…it was so easy and uneventful, as it should be. Our amazing photographers “Team DWP” started taking pics on their iPhones to send to me. After a few snaps, I requested they use their professional cameras to grab a couple of good photos and commemorate the moment.
I wasn’t sure what to expect and this was so big to me. Up to this point, I’d paraded through the streets at Carnival in next to nothing, body on display. It was simply a sexy event for me that I worked hard to look good at each year. But as a breastfeeding mom it was such a new empowering experience. I was still a sexy woman with breasts showcased (happily more full this year), but I was a sexy AND nourishing woman. You can both and it should be this easy!!
Carnival Tuesday was more of the same as far as support, an amazing moment in my new mommy chronicles. Though, the best moment for me this Carnival was arriving in Tobago to see my big and little loves.