Yesterday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and volunteered with five other women to be photographed while breastfeeding our babies. A local photographer had posted on Facebook looking for breastfeeding moms with children ranging from newborn to over a year old. A few people tagged me in her post, most likely because I am pretty vocal about my gripes with breastfeeding as well as my devotion to it.
Although, I am comfortable enough to talk about my breastfeeding journey, I am still very unsure of myself when it comes to feeding Beau in public. I try to avoid situations where I’ll have to feed him around strangers. If I find myself in one of those situations, I’ll usually retreat to the car or bathroom. I give all of the praise in the world to the woman who are comfortable enough to feed their babies in public, but I’m not sure if I will ever be one of them.
I have been wanting a professional photo of myself breastfeeding Beau, but I never gathered the courage to make it happen. This opportunity seemed too perfect not too take up though, so without further thought, I reached out to the photographer in search of breastfeeding moms. I immediately got great vibes from Olivia. Her passion for the vision she was trying to create excited me for the photo shoot.
I was one of the first people to arrive to the location where we would be taking the photos. I saw one of the other moms get out of her mini van and shake hands with a woman who I presumed was Olivia. I got out of my car and introduced myself and Beau. I immediately felt secure with these women. I guess knowing that we all had a common interest, especially one as intimate as breastfeeding, kind of bonded us.
Shortly after the rest of the moms and babies joined us and I felt like I made five new best friends. It was so comforting to be surrounded by woman who understood me without having to say a word. Olivia requested that the babies be in diapers for the shoot. I absolutely loved this idea. As I was struggling to take off Beau’s onesie, one of the other moms came over to help me without hesitation. I was so grateful to be in the presence of such supportive, nonjudgmental women.
Olivia did some individual shots with the moms and their babies. Initially, I was nervous because I had never breastfed in front of someone I barely knew other than the nurses in the hospital. My fears were quickly subdued by Olivia’s easy going personality and gentle demeanor. She made everything feel natural, despite the fact that Beau and I were so sweaty we were sticking to each other!
The last thing we did was the group shot. I’ve never felt more united with a group of strangers than I did at the moment. There was some serious girl power flourishing between the six of us and our children. It was a force so palpable that even when Olivia was done taking the pictures, we all kind of lingered in our spots and held our babies a little longer.
I am so grateful for the opportunity Olivia presented to us. The experience ignited a shade of confidence in me and my breastfeeding journey. It made me realize that breastfeeding in public is a natural beautiful thing, that no one should be ashamed of and women are a lot more supportive of each other than people might assume.
Photography by: Olivia Drew Photography