Guest blog post by: Kim Hall, Mother & Founder of Opal + Ivy Photography
Photo credit: Kim Hall, Opal + Ivy Photography
In late July, I had an urge to do something meaningful for World Breastfeeding Week; which took place last week, August 1st-7th. Immediately, I had a vision to gather a group of powerful, brave women to stand before my camera lens and feed their babies. Danielle, a close friend of mine, not only pushed me to do the photoshoot, but also joined in on this empowering event. Why did I need to be pushed? There is such a stigma surrounding this natural practice, which makes women feel discouraged to breastfeed. I felt empowered to change that in some small way.
I had a vision to create an image that would make someone, anyone, feel proud and encouraged to do something we, as women, were created to do. There are so many stories about women who get shamed and who feel uncomfortable. I really wanted to bring awareness to that and make them feel confident.
This was my first time doing something like this for sure, but I could already tell it would not be the last. These ladies were so ready to get out there and stand up for themselves against the fight to normalize breastfeeding. I made sure my group was diversified and incorporated children of different ages, including a tandem feeding mama. We all gathered at a beautiful park in our area and captured compelling photos. The immediate response to the photos when posting on social media and mom groups on Facebook were filled with positive comments and kind, thoughtful words.
At that point, the local news station reached out to me asking to do an interview. We were proud of our photos being displayed on a larger platform. When word got around in our area about the photoshoot, not everyone was happy. We expected this reaction, as that was the whole point, right?
Awareness. Education. Normalization. Once people can stop sexualizing breasts and accept them for what they are, we can move forward with less ignorance. As mothers, we should feel comfortable breastfeeding our babies in public spaces because, well, babies have to eat! Every child and mother is different, and they may not like to be covered up or take a bottle. We must continue advocating for our rights to breastfeed in a public space and remember that the law is on our side.
I must admit, long before I had children of my own, I felt a little uncomfortable seeing women openly breastfeed. I didn’t really know how I felt about it at first, however through education, I quickly realized it’s a natural aspect of life and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Once I captured those captivating photos of the moms, I knew it was a lesson worth sharing with the world.
It is so important to breastfeed in general for so many different physical and emotional reasons. In my situation, I am in a co-parenting relationship and was lucky that my child’s father is supportive of my breastfeeding journey. When we went to mediation, I felt shocked to be bullied by the female mediator who heard my plans to breastfeed and made me feel ashamed that I would try to breastfeed at my child’s age. I felt real anxiety and anger like I was being pushed into a corner. Two years later, we are still going strong. My guy is not ready to wean! I have tried… and that’s okay too. I have people ask me often times, “You are still breastfeeding?” I laugh and remind myself that I am glad it gave me an opportunity to share information they might have never realized before. Every small attempt has a significant impact.
To check out more on Kimberly Hall’s breastfeeding mamas photoshoot, click here. To learn more about Kim’s photography, visit her Facebook page, Opal + Ivy Photography. Connect with Imalac by following us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.