PBCBA BAR BULLETINS pbcba_bulletin_May 2019 - Page 14

SOUTH COUNTY C o u r t h o u s e South County Courthouse Nursing Room JULIA WYDA, ESQ. Two years ago, I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. Like many female attorneys before me, I returned to my firm a few months after and was back in court quickly upon my return. I was breastfeeding and tried to make that a priority for my baby’s health, growth and wellbeing. Though my firm fully supported me, the realities of litigation did not make it easy to continue breastfeeding. Long hearings, depositions and travel to and from courthouses make breastfeeding goals difficult to achieve. Luckily for the female attorneys that come after me, Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer, Judge Jessica Ticktin, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Trial Court Administrator Barbara Dawicke, and attorney Katherine Kiziah worked tirelessly to bring a lactation room to the South County Courthouse. On February 27, 2019, the South County Courthouse Nursing Room was opened to attorneys and the public with a special ribbon cutting ceremony, in which the South County judges joined members of the Palm Beach Chapter of FAWL, the South Palm Beach County Chapter of FAWL, and the Palm Beach Bar’s Young Lawyers Section to celebrate this momentous occasion. It was a well-attended event with moving remarks by Chief Judge Krista Marx, Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer and attorney Katherine Kiziah. After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit Administrative Order No. 2.107-2/19 was amended to provide that South County Courthouse Room 2C114 is designated as a nursing mothers’ room and that anyone needing access to the room should contact the South County Law Library at 561-274-1440. The South County Courthouse Nursing Room is now our second lactation room in courthouses in Palm Beach County. In 2017, a lactation room was opened in the Main Courthouse in West Palm Beach. For female attorneys, these lactation rooms represent not only a chance to continue breastfeeding when it otherwise seems nearly impossible as an attorney, but also a shift in the norms and expectations of our legal community. Finally, being a mother and breastfeeding seem to be given significance in a profession that can sometimes appear to devalue those important natural and biological aspects of women’s lives. Often the practice of law and being a mother and breastfeeding seem inherently in conflict. As female attorneys face the juggle of motherhood and maintaining their legal careers, the opening of these lactation rooms signifies that help is somehow on the way and we are not alone in this confounding struggle of exhaustion and love. I hope that our Palm Beach Bar members will spread the word about the South County Courthouse Nursing Room, as well as the nursing room in the Main Courthouse. The lack of nursing accommodations for mothers impacts our lawyers, clients, witnesses and jurors. Please encourage your fellow lawyers, clients and witnesses to use these rooms if they are nursing. If you want to get more involved, our Palm Beach Chapter of FAWL is doing great work to bring these accommodations to all courthouses in our county. In addition, State FAWL now has a Lactation Room Task Force that is opening up a very important dialogue throughout our state. Recently, FAWL’s Lactation Room Task Force was invited to join Martin County Health Department’s Health State Coalition Breastfeeding Committee to discuss the cultural history of breastfeeding in the United States, barriers to breastfeeding, and the relationship between breastfeeding and infant health outcomes. I hope our legal community continues this dialogue and that more of our courthouses, firms, and corporate and government employers will make accommodations for nursing mothers.