Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Morrin Mariani, Worms, Rhineland-Palantine, Germany
Photos: Dennis Weißmantel
When I became a mother ten months ago, nursing was sheer horror for me. I was terribly anxious and everything was purely and simply awful. My son, Ian, and I had to battle against tongue-tie, newborn formula given by nurses, pacifier pressure, and loads of other things. But we didn’t give up, and after a few weeks it then got better and better, until today I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than nursing my child.
I went to breastfeeding groups, read lots of books, and swapped ideas and experiences with other mothers.
Unfortunately, it’s still the case that you should stick to nursing within your own four walls if you don’t want everyone putting their two cents in. In Germany you are very welcome to nurse your child as long as it’s a newborn. However, as soon as your child gets older (let’s say anything over six months), people will look askance at you, or ask you what you think you’re doing. Luckily, that has never happened to me, but friends have shared their horror stories. Some mothers have been asked to leave restaurants or to cover their children up, or have been told they should nurse in the bathroom (unfortunately, that has happened to me).
All of this has got me thinking about what I can do to show people how beautiful nursing is and that there is nothing more authentic than nurturing and nourishing your child in this way. I wanted to show that it doesn’t matter what you look like, every mother with a nursing child is beautiful. That’s how my first project, called “Nursing naturally,” came about. I sought out a photographer friend (Dennis Weißmantel) and a few breastfeeding friends, thought up some picture ideas, and we were off.
My pictures aim to show that it doesn’t matter whether we have already regained our ideal weight eight weeks after the birth or are still carrying the extra pounds necessary for feeding and growing a child. Whether we have gotten stretch marks or our breasts look different than before we were pregnant. We are mothers and we look like mothers should. Naturally.
Dear moms out there, don’t let our poor society persuade you that it’s not good to nurse your children. Or even maybe that it’s disgusting to give your child the breast. Because it really isn’t. It is what it should be—pure love.