Recently a local photographer contacted a moms group I am in to offer her services to breastfeeding moms with a complimentary “Nursling” photo shoot. She was hoping to expand her portfolio and also to honor the act of breastfeeding for local moms.
I was cautious, but feeling brave in that moment, so I volunteered.
I wasn’t sure what to think. I don’t love my body, and any photos I have seen of me nursing Lydia have been overwhelmed by huge masses of boob. Ick! I couldn’t picture how our photos would be lovely, but I went anyway. I was hopeful, but honestly, doubtful.
Cassandra was super sweet, and she wore her one-year old in a Mai-Tei wrap while she shot, which was awesome, I thought. We chatted about “hippie” mama things, Lydia nursed and she took photos and before I knew it, we were done.
A few days later, she sent me my little portfolio, and I was absolutely stunned.
These photos were beautiful.
Who was this ethereal mother gazing at her child and nursing so effortlessly? These photos didn’t have blobs of flesh flopped haphazardly onto a baby, they had lovely images of a woman nourishing her child. Beautiful and natural, like we knew what the heck we were doing, my baby and I.
She captured Lydia’s curiosity and feistiness, and my utter adoration of her.
These images made me look as beautiful as I longed to feel – and helped me really embrace that the act of breastfeeding my sweet baby is truly a beautiful, wonderful, natural, lovely thing.
Breastfeeding has certainly empowered me and made me feel more strong and powerful than anything else ever has. It has given me confidence – in my choices, in my mothering, in myself, in knowing that I am giving my baby a precious gift. I have felt so maternal and strong while nursing my babe, but never really beautiful, not really. You see, I have struggled with my beauty my whole life. I can have confidence in my gifts, acts and skills, but beauty in my skin, I have always lacked.
As I look at these images, I see a woman who is doing something that she is supposed to be doing: loving her baby with her whole self, and in that I see my true beauty.