Adia Barnes, coach for the University of Arizona’s women’s basketball team, was wearing more than one hat during Sunday night’s National Collegiate Athletic Association championship game. The former WNBA champion and coach was also slipping into the locker room to pump breastmilk for her 6-month-old daughter, Capri, during the game, according to People, making Barnes the latest example of how badass moms are at multitasking — even when the stakes are high.
Sideline reporter Holly Rowe made the discovery about the coach’s halftime activities when she saw her coming out of the locker room later than the rest of her team, making a special point to address the multitasking that working mothers are required to do as she interviewed Barnes. “I had a baby right when season started,” Barnes explained to Rowe during their sideline chat. “And took like a week off, it says I took a month off but I did not.” Barnes went on to explain how she was on Zoom calls four days after delivering Capri via C-section. “But my team loved on me,” she continued. “I missed a couple of weeks, I got a little sick, they fought for me. I came back. They were patient. I’m happy.”
Barnes went on to explain how she represents all the moms, even noting that her baby was there with her for the big game. “I hear her crying, ready to feed,” she said. “I represent moms, you can be a coach, you can do it at an elite level. You just have to have a village like I do. I represent Black females, don’t get here too often and don’t get opportunities. But I had an opportunity today on the biggest stage and represented a lot.”
We know Barnes isn’t the only mom pumping at work, so we want to remind everyone that you don’t have to be coaching your team through the Final Four in order to receive pumping accommodations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, all employers are required to provide “reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for her nursing child for one year after the child’s birth each time such employee has need to express the milk.” Employers are also required to provide “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from coworkers and the public, which may be used by an employee to express breast milk.”
Arizona ultimately lost the championship game — by one heartbreaking point — to Stanford, marking an end to their quest for the top spot in college basketball. But Barnes didn’t let the team’s loss minimize all that they had done to get where they were, reminding us that the journey can be as much of a celebration as the destination in a tweet she posted after the game. “My team…my heart,” she wrote. “This hurt but they played their hearts out and that’s all that I can ask for. I’m so proud of them and what we accomplished this year!”
Arizona may not have won the big game, but Barnes won a place in our heart as another shining example of the strength and determination of working moms.
Celebrate the beauty of different breastfeeding journeys through these photographs.
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