Disclaimer: Images ahead are suitable for ALL audiences.
From the moment our third baby was born, we have been an expert breastfeeding duo — a blessing I do not take lightly. She is ALL about my milk-makers. Imagine a rabid raccoon pawing desperately at covered trash cans; a vulture swooping down at its prey... CHOMP!
But the instant she latches on, her body relaxes and then so, too, do I. Her body curled around mine, my little busybody stops for a moment to need me. Safe. Satisfied. I need her just as fiercely. Grounded. Content. We get to slow down.
I have teased her for her unwavering and exclusive demand to nurse, calling her "The Boob-Leach" time and again, adjusting my entire life around her sleep and feeds. The truth is, I love breastfeeding. I do. And I don't love it because I'm "supposed to" — like organic homemade baby food, baby sign language or mommy-and-me yoga. I love it because it is the most pure and simple joy.
I think the culture surrounding breastfeeding is changing. I have breastfed #alloftheplaces and I have never felt judged, ridiculed or stared at. Sure, sometimes people don't know where to look, but I truly believe that is bred of respect and not scorn. Often I read articles and social media posts describing women feeling shamed for breastfeeding in public, like it is some kind of controversy. This may be a controversial opinion, but I think in many instances, these situations are arising from the woman's own paranoia and modesty.
The truth is, as with many things, no one really cares as much as you think they do. Do your thing, feed the baby, carry on — no one will think twice.
With these photos, I am not on a crusade to normalize breastfeeding. I am not pushing a "breast is best" agenda — you do you, girl. I am not staging "nurse-ins" to support public breastfeeding. I'm not defiantly breastfeeding in restaurants and on park benches to make a point. Although I do breastfeed in restaurants, on park benches, at the beach, everywhere — it's just not a big deal. Shit, a girl's gotta eat! She gets her hunger patience from her momma!
Rather, I am on a crusade to celebrate the miraculous things a woman's body can do! I want to celebrate what my body has done! I want to celebrate and love the human body in all sizes, shapes, and compositions!
In a culture of epidemic level body shaming, self-hate, shame and depreciation, I want to celebrate what this body has created (and what has created this body!). I want to love and appreciate it. I want to create a tangible reminder of these moments on my journey through womanhood. The journey is long, and pregnancy and breast feeding are but a short (monumental) blip on the timeline. I want to celebrate that.
On days when the negative self-talk gets too loud, I want to be able to look back at these photos and be proud of my body — a body that nourished and supported a child both inside and out. I want to remember this forever.
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