Image via: Suzie Blake
My hazy visions of breastfeeding when I was pregnant with my first child were based on the very few images in the media I had available: glossy magazine photos of a serene mother and child, blissful and beautiful, backlit by glowing sunlight and fluttering white gossamer curtains. So when the reality looked like a screaming baby, an ever growing pile of dishes in the sink, and a let down that would gush, gyser like, if he so much as sneezed; it was jarring. All I could think was, “Where did I go wrong?”
Suzie Blake wants to change this image. Professional photographer and mother of two, Blake has embarked on a photo documentary project aimed at capturing the realities of breastfeeding “in all its beautiful messiness,” giving reality-saturated images that more women can recognize themselves in.
These are the real everyday lives of real breastfeeding women, the challenge and the joys. The mess and the joyful chaos. As she explains on her Indiegogo page, Blake was fed up at the pictures typically seen in the media: pristine airbrushed scenes of quiet tranquility and youthful, well rested models, unrealistic moments that didn’t capture the milk leaks and dirty houses, the unplanned pit stops at the park or a cafe, or a busy toddler in the background.
Blake’s page explains she is traveling to meet mothers in the UK, where breastfeeding rates are some of the lowest in Europe, to tell their stories and give a more complete picture of what breastfeeding really looks like and to normalize it.
“This about empowering women.”
You can follow and support the project here: What Does Breastfeeding Look Like?