Saturday, June 23, 2007

Breastfeeding during professional exams.

Mama Knows Breast brought up an interesting article the other day. It's about what happened to Sophie Currier of Brookline, Massachusetts. In short, to begin her medical residency this fall, Dr. Currier needs to complete her medical exam boards by August - the exam is 9 hours long and allows for breaks that come to a grand total of 45 minutes. And she is currently breastfeeding her 7 week old baby. Can you see where this is going? The board insists that she will only be allowed the allotted 45 minutes and no extra time will be granted to her. Should I bother mentioning the hypocrisy of a group of DOCTOR'S denying this woman the right to express milk during her exam? Is that too obvious?

I read this article and it spoke to me on a personal level. I am a licensed CPA and sat through a day and half's worth of long grueling exams in the process. During your breaks, you barely got enough time to eat and use the bathroom, much less put together the equipment necessary for pumping breastmilk, then storing it. Furthermore, when my son was 7 weeks old, I could NOT go more than 3 hours at a time without nursing or pumping during the dayime hours. It was physically painful with the engorgement and hello! Can you say Leaking Leaky McLeakerson with me?

I called the CPA exam board this afternoon to ask about their policy for breastfeeding mothers and was told the following:
The exam has changed since I've taken it. It's now anywhere from 2.5 to 4.5 hours and 30 minutes must be allowed for signing in. No breaks are allowed. A breastfeeding mother would need to submit an "ADA Modification form" to be allowed any extra break time for pumping. This is still not nearly as bad as Dr. Currier's situation, but I was still unimpressed with the CPA exam board's answer to my inquiry.

Let's just say that I am grateful that I have the CPA exam under my belt.

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