In case you needed further proof that women are unstoppable, look to this powerful photo of a hockey player breastfeeding her baby during the game's intermission. Aside from being totally badass, it serves as another reminder that breastfeeding is beautiful and moms are a determined bunch that never take a break from their duties.
Enter: Serah Small. The Canadian mother's post about breastfeeding in the midst of playing a hockey game has gone viral, for the best reason. Small, who plays hockey in Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada, according to CTV News, needed to feed her daughter during her hockey game's intermission on Monday and forgotten her pump, and photos of her doing so are incredible. In a post that has been deemed "perfectly Canadian," Small can be seen holding her daughter and feeding her in what looks to be a locker room, dressed in her hockey gear.
A local lactation clinic, Milky Way Lactation Services, also shared the photo of Small, along with a quote from the mom. "I felt my milk come in and leak as I played and between periods I would strip down to feed my 8 week old babe," she explained, according to Milky Way Lactation Services' post. She added:
Being a mom is absolutely amazing and I'm so happy I got to do something I absolutely love while still meeting my babies needs. Our bodies are amazing and this weekend was the first time I truly appreciated mine.
In her own Facebook post, Small explained she was initially scared to post the photo that she "absolutely adore[s]" because society has sexualized breasts. But that after sending Milky Way her photo, and seeing the positive response, she was encouraged to share the photo on her own page. "After sharing the photo with a lactation consultant that has help me and Ellie I have come to realize that it should not be something to be ashamed of but proud of," she wrote on Facebook.
Comments on both of the posts have been overwhelmingly positive, too. "Way to go," one user wrote, continuing, "You’re a strong woman! As women we are powerful by nature and not truly appreciated by many society in general and often don’t appreciate ourselves as you mentioned. Our bodies are life giving and truly precocious. No matter the shape or size."
Another simply added, "Go on girl! You do you! Don’t be ashamed of nothing!"
As healthy and natural as breastfeeding is, women still face a lot of judgement and shame doing so in public. What's more, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a study from 2001 that looked at information from a survey of "public opinion," in the United States, a mere 43 percent of adults surveyed thought that "women should have the right to breastfeed in public places."
Although that study was conducted over 15 years ago, Small's remark in her Facebook post that she has felt "the burn of judgemental [sic] eyes" while breastfeeding her daughter makes it clear that the world hasn't as evolved as much as we'd like to think or hope. Considering how many posts about breastfeeding have gone viral for the empowering messages they send, it's clear a lot work still needs to be done in order to further normalize it.
Small's post is both powerful and important. Women should feel comfortable breastfeeding their children whenever they need to, even if that's in a public place. As Small put it, "Our bodies are amazing."
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.