I have posted a lot of my Fine Art of Motherhood breastfeeding series on Facebook and the gallery on our main website (here). I have not had the time to blog many individual breastfeeding sessions though. I am hoping to get caught up this month, at least a little!
When I started the breastfeeding photo series, the majority of the photos were taken outdoors, in nature, or in my studio. To some people, that may feel a little unrealistic since they don’t spend a lot of time breastfeeding in the middle of a bunch of greenery. To me, it seems totally normal since most of our free time as a family is spent hiking along the many trails and wilderness preserves near where we live. Taking a breastfeeding break is usually part of our hikes as a family.
I wanted to start a secondary part of the series, showing that breastfeeding is beautiful anywhere and everywhere. One place in particular that many moms often feel uncomfortable or awkward breastfeeding is in church. Our society has so overly sexualized breasts that they are often shamed when used for their intended purpose in a house of worship. Mothers are made to feel embarrassed, like they need to go into the bathroom or use a cumbersome nursing cover if they must nurse in church.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis encouraged mothers to breastfeed their babies in church. As a Catholic myself, I am often a little apprehensive when I see a circulating news story about the Catholic church (it’s not always something to brag about). However, when I read this story, I was extremely proud of our pope and my religion. I felt I no longer needed to hide in the corner in the back of the church if my son started fussing and grabbing at me, wanting milk. I wanted other moms to feel the same feeling of comfort and peace, no matter what their religious beliefs may be.
One of my recent clients had a Fine Art of Motherhood session scheduled, and I asked her if she would mind going along with meeting me at a church to take this photo I had envisioned prior to her session. She happily agreed, and everyone at the church was so helpful and friendly about the process. I am hoping that other church leaders will take a cue from Pope Francis and encourage their parishioners to breastfeed their babies in church whenever needed. Here is this beautiful mother of five children, breastfeeding her baby in church. If you are paying attention to the service, you probably wouldn’t even notice that she was breastfeeding. I bet plenty would notice however, if her baby was left to be hungry and miserable, crying the whole time they were in church. Honestly, which would you rather sit near? I would much rather be next to a breastfeeding mother than a mother with a baby crying for an hour, wouldn’t you?