When Sara called me and said “I want to take breastfeeding pictures and you are the only Breastfeeding Photographer in Northwest Ohio I could find”, I had never met her and I knew nothing about her journey. I’m always honored to document the bond between mother and child and I really didn’t hear her whole breastfeeding story until after the portrait session was over. It was then that I melted and felt humbled and honored. You see, I knew that she had struggled with nursing in public and that this was stepping outside her comfort zone, but she trusted me enough that here she was: in a park, wrapped in fabric, breastfeeding her baby like she has done this in front of people hundreds of times before. I did check (and double check) that she was ok, but I felt she was comfortable and I don’t think I understood at the time the enormous step that she had just taken.
During her session, I really enjoyed the bond between mommy and baby and the love between them was undeniable. One of my favorite images was of her baby, just giggling so hard that his eyes are squeezed shut. His playful innocence slightly shows a slight hint of “ornery.”
After crying through much of Sara’s viewing session, we talked about what a milestone this was for her. I admire her strength and the way she propelled herself forward. Almost everyone writes out their Birth Story, whether it was “good” or “bad”, but very few women write their Breastfeeding Story, despite the healing power. I encouraged Sara to do so, and she’s agreed to share with us. I hope it inspires you the way it has me.
In Sara’s words:
“My breastfeeding story didn’t start out at all as I hoped it would have been. My oldest decided to make her appearance 5 weeks early and with having little experience in breastfeeding, we ended up pumping the first 4 months of her life. Also had the pleasure of getting mastitis 4 times, which kicked me pretty bad. In this journey, though knowing I wanted to breastfeed- I had a rough past that included me being sexually abused by my mother’s husband during my high school years. It scared me on a daily basis those 4 months, but I knew I was doing good by my daughter. Fast forward to my middle child, I was determined to nurse and had gone through therapy that had helped me overcome the fear and anxiety of my body being used again. What helped is knowing it was for the good this time. My oldest son latched on like he knew exactly what he was doing and enjoyed nursing until 15 months old. It was an amazing accomplishment in my eyes and I was proud of myself for sticking through it. Looking back, there were still times I was still scared to nurse. One incident was when we had movers packing our things and I nursed in a closed room. I started to panic in that moment, that I unlatched my son (who was a month old) and started to cry. It then dawned on me that it was good, it was healthy, it was OKAY to be upset over this. I saw him crying and I latched him again, this time I noticed him nursing and being at peace within my hold. That was the moment. My littlest is going now on 8 months and I look at my breastfeeding story and see how I overcome this fear and was an anxious inexperienced breastfeeding mother to this praising mothers while out and about. Even high fiving moms when I see them nursing. It is a passion I feel every time I start to nurse my littlest. To start out as I did and having no idea what to expect and scared out of my wits to this mom full of laughter and happiness and love for nursing is an amazing journey I can’t wait to enjoy with my children. I love how natural it is to have my kids around me to nurse their youngest sibling. I love how my husband supports my decision to nurse. He even supports nursing in public, because “the babies need to eat too”. Though this will most likely be our last baby, my journey is not over- I hope to exceed that 15 month mark. Even if I don’t- this breastfeeding journey has just begun and the passion for it will never cease.”
After a lot of talks and tears with Sara, she told me she was able to overcome so many things for her children, because it was a gift she could give them. I believe the beauty of it, is the gift that her children gave her. Momma, I know you’re reading now… thank you for allowing me into this intimate journey; for putting your trust and faith in me. You’re stronger than you know, more inspiring than you think, and this journey of yours is just going to grow more and more beautiful….
If you are a breastfeeding mom and would like to document your journey, please call us today to schedule your free pre-design. We can be reached at 419-231-1174. Custom photography sessions are available in the Northwest Ohio and Southwest Michigan areas. Also serving areas in and around Toledo, Perrysburg, Sylvania, Maumee, Holland, Delta, Swanton, Wauseon, Archbold, Bryan, Napoleon, Defiance, Fort Wayne, Delta, and Whitehouse.