To me, celebrating World Breastfeeding Week is not just about normalizing public breastfeeding. It’s about creating a community of support. It’s about not feeling so isolated during the difficulties pretty much all women encounter with their nurslings. And this goes for motherhood in general. Social media has come with mixed blessings as mothers are both better able to reach out to others for help and advice, but it is also so easy for people to just share their success and happiness, which can be isolating to those moms trying to keep their heads above water. We all have those impossible days with our little ones. We all sometimes feel like the worst mother and count down the seconds until bedtime when we can finally hear ourselves think and attempt to get a grip.
Not only are mothers still shamed for breastfeeding in public, but they are so often isolated and left struggling to do best by their children while shrouded in guilt and misinformation. Families used to be so much stronger and closer together. Now, so many of us are scattered across the globe juggling children, work, a household, marriage and a fistful of long distance relationships with friends and family. Where is the support? We can’t be expected to do this alone and still do our very best. It takes a village.
Many of the ladies in this picture had never met, but I could feel the instant connections. Nobody stood alone as they soothed their babies. There were no judging looks, no snippy suggestions, nobody questioning another mom’s choice of clothing, and no feeling of competition.
Yes, these images are posed, but they were surprisingly easy and natural. When I told everyone to smile down at their babies, they were filled with love. When I asked them to smile at the camera, they beamed with pride for this movement they are supporting. And when I announced that it was time to mingle, they erupted into laughter and happy conversation. And when everyone was ready, but one baby cried out that she was done, nobody got frustrated. There wasn’t even that feeling of “at least it’s not my baby.” That mama and baby were surrounded with love and support. I put my camera down and told her to cuddle her sweet girl. There were 10 other moms and babies all set for the picture, but we were all in this together and it was absolutely beautiful.
This is one of the most perfect pictures I have ever taken because it is both magical and so real at the same time. We are surrounded by amazing moms who want to be a part of that village, but simply haven’t found it, yet. It’s time to make that happen. No judging. No questioning. No hiding in fear or shame. We can all agree that parenting is one of the hardest tasks in life and that we do better when we are lifted up by our friends and family.
Don’t stay home today. Gather your babies and go find your village.
This is so hard and you don’t have to do it alone!
Thank you to these mothers who gathered on very short notice to
help bring awareness to World Breastfeeding Week.
You are all truly stunning!