Breastfeeding is a beautiful and natural thing that still somehow manages to upset a whole lot of people. Fortunately, word is getting around that breastfeeding is — wait for it — normal. And, thankfully, there are some moms out there saying it louder for the ones in the back. To keep up this momentum, stop what you're doing because every breastfeeding mom needs to see this stunning photo that is going viral right now.
The gorgeous photo, captured by Alicia Samone, shows a group of moms gathered together, all with babies proudly and snuggly latched on. She captioned the photo:
THIS is for everyone that says to cover up. THIS is our right. THIS is for everyone that rolls their eyes. THIS is for the ones that say go feed your baby in the bathroom. THIS is for the ones that say "we don't want to see that". THIS is for the ones that say "do you have to feed them HERE? NOW?" THIS is for US. THIS is for or children. THIS IS OUR RIGHT!
Samone spoke with Romper about the moms who came together to make the powerful photo a reality and said that she wanted them to "make this statement." After posting a call-out on Facebook, Samone said she was met with overwhelming support from moms in and around her home of Phoenix, Arizona. She explained:
Moms across the valley shared and tagged everyone they knew in a MAJOR way. I had 50 sign up with in [sic] 24 hours. About 25 showed up, but I think the statement was still made in a huge way.
She also told Romper that "breastfeeding itself brought everyone together," and shared her love and respect for all of the moms who participated in the shoot:
I can't thank these women enough for being so brave. They're being attacked in the comments on the photo but we won't let down. It's their/our right. And its [sic] beautiful.
Samone's caption for the photo echoed her praises for moms, regardless of how they choose to feed their babies, and explained why such a statement was so necessary. "We never should have to be told that we should go somewhere else to feed our babies," she wrote on Facebook. "We should never be told we are disgusting. We should never be told that we are immodest. Immoral, looking for attention, sexualizing ourselves, or our children."
Samone also touched on just how much of an incredible feat breastfeeding truly is, mom-shaming notwithstanding:
Breastfeeding is not easy. Breastfeeding is hard. You get kicked in the face. Your nipple bit. Pulled. Pried. Twiddled. Your hair pulled. Scratched. All while someone is looking at you rolling their eyes and saying "Can you go to the hot car?"
The realities of Samone's post are all too common. Moms are regularly made to feel uncomfortable with the necessary and totally natural act of feeding their children. Suggestions of alternate feeding locations (such as dirty bathroom stalls) make way for mom-shaming and, honestly, no one wins.
Samone ended her post with a number of ways to call for action, directed to both moms and those tempted to shame them. She encourages the world to stop sexualizing breastfeeding and to stop perpetuating outdated ideas that breastfeeding is improper behavior.
"Do me a favor... Next time you see a breastfeeding mom... Just smile at her. I promise it will change yours and her day," she wrote on Facebook. "Normalize breastfeeding -- Because it IS normal."
Having breastfed her own children for five years, Samone said that refuses to sit idly by while women are being put down for completely normal behavior. And for that, every woman that has ever or will ever breastfeed thanks her and all these breastfeeding moms for bringing attention to such an important issue.