This group of 14 “brave and beautiful” mothers came together to breastfeed on the beach under the full moon to celebrate their bodies, cherish their motherhood and most importantly – give each other the confidence to share their struggles and embrace their differences.
Photographer Trina Cary hosted the magical photo shoot at Kawana Beach on the Sunshine Coast of Australia because she “freaking loves women,” she told Love What Matters.
“These 14 beautiful, wonderful and empowering women came out to my event — some friends, some strangers. Every time I get a group together I am floored by their ability to befriend and accept one another so freely. I just LOVE being a part of it.
I was absolutely ecstatic to see these mothers breastfeeding, and not just newborns. There were a variety of ages, a few 18 months and above. I am flattered to hear their journeys and realize that for some of them, it wasn’t an easy one. I am a birth doula along with a photographer, so I have always had a strong love for pregnancy, birth and motherhood.
I hope when women see these images they smile and laugh. I hope they can feel the love that is radiating through these women; strangers that became friends through supporting and encouraging each other in one evening of feeding their little ones together. I want the women in this world to come together. I want to create a powerful, raw, open and loving community in my photography. If I can help women learn to love their stretch marks, extra skin, lumps and bumps, I will! We are all beautiful in our own way and we need to stop comparing ourselves to one another. We are all unique and that’s okay. What’s important is that we support and encourage each other to see the beauty inside ourselves.”
A few of the mothers shared their emotional reasons for taking part in the full moon breastfeeding session.
“I always imagined my journey to motherhood would be similar to those I ‘thought’ I knew about. That most women seemed to have a hard go of it during either getting pregnant, giving birth or caring for their newborn in the postnatal period. You can imagine my heartbreak then when after finally having a successful pregnancy three years after when we first started trying, the birth of River and my postnatal period were extremely challenging.
I struggled with breastfeeding. I had weeks of pain so intense I was crying when my baby woke up because I knew more pain was coming. After three cases of mastitis, my first so bad I was back in the hospital for IV antibiotics after two failed oral courses, I still persisted with breastfeeding my new baby. Ten days of exclusively pumping and feeding him expressed breast milk to let my nipples heal, I had an allergic reaction to disposable breast pads afterwards and had a full body dermatitis reaction.
This meant so much to me and I am quite a determined person. I hadn’t let the other phases of my motherhood journey deter me — an ectopic pregnancy, fertility treatment, birthing my big baby boy vaginally and drug-free like I prepared for and wanted to. So you can imagine I would definitely be keen to celebrate my body and breastfeeding my child when I heard Trina Cary Photography was hosting a full moon breastfeeding photo shoot!
I am a very supportive and nonjudgmental person. This wasn’t about anyone else’s journey but my own and damn I deserve to celebrate that! I couldn’t be happier to have celebrated that with these wonderful women and their children.”
“I’ve grown up to be strong and to not worry about what people think. With so many mothers and beautiful children in my family, breastfeeding is the normality for me. We were given our bodies for a reason and this is just one of this magical reasons — to produce and feed our little ones. I have met a few people out there that are against breastfeeding or don’t like it in public. But here’s to all the breastfeeding mummas and to Trina for capturing all of us and our beautiful babies. Here’s to normalizing breastfeeding.”
“Breastfeeding was a struggle for Bella and I. I had to use express and bottle feed for three weeks when she was just a few weeks old to rest my cracked and bleeding nipples. I had to use nipple shields for three months as Bella couldn’t latch properly without them. I shed many tears but was determined to persevere. Now Bella is 9 months and feeding is second nature. I wanted to celebrate how far we’ve both come.”
“My breastfeeding journey was so incredibly hard at the start. Reuben has a lip and cheek tie, intolerances (I had to cut foods from my diet) and feeding was so painful to begin with. I would dread having to feed him, knowing that he wasn’t able to get what he needed efficiently, and the pain that it caused me. I sought a lot of help from other mums, a wonderful lactation consultant and our chiropractor. We’ve been feeding successfully for a whole year now, and I don’t see us stopping anytime soon! I love the bond we share, and the comfort it brings him, as well as the nutrition it provides! My boy is healthy and happy and that is worth any amount of pain.”
“I struggled with my first, and my second time around I was so determined. I am now successfully breastfeeding and couldn’t be more proud.”
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