Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Photos: Kate Nolan Photography
The photographs in this story were created as part of ‘The Milky Way Project.’ The art project’s aim is to restore the nursing mother as a positive and inspiring archetype, to empower women to reclaim their birth right. Two breastfeeding photographers started the project in Poland and subsequently invited others to join them. I am privileged to be one of them.
The photography project is more than breastfeeding promotion by, for, and about women. It is about the knowledge that inherently resides in every woman, how we access that knowledge, and how we must trust that which we already know. It is our way to inspire women to say, “I can do that!” “I want to do that!”
It is our way to inspire women to say, “I can do that!” “I want to do that!”
These are portraits of brave and beautiful women who live and work in County Galway in Ireland. The mothers volunteered their time and shared the intimacy of breastfeeding their children in order to promote and support breastfeeding mothers across the world.
I don’t want to bore you with facts and figures about breastfeeding. Instead, I want to share with you my own experience, to tell you a little about my journey as a mum and photographer.
I am a mother of two beautiful children. My passion for photography was born out of my love for my children and a desire to capture as many precious moments as possible with my camera in order to remember and cherish those memories for the future.
Time flies when our little miracles enter the world. The journey starts when they begin to smile, let loose that first little giggle, sit up all by themselves, take their first wobbly steps, and then, before you realize it, they begin to run. I wanted to be able to look back on those memories with photos taken with love and to enable other families to capture moments. That’s how my journey with photography began.
When I breastfed my first child, Ella, it was a challenging but deeply rewarding experience. It wasn’t something that came easily to me and I don’t think that it comes easily to any new mother, but we worked over the speed bumps. I loved when my little girl looked up at me to smile while nursing. It melted my heart every time. It was our special time together and it was an opportunity for me to hold her hand, bring it up to my lips, and give those chubby little fingers a kiss. I also had the satisfaction of knowing that I was providing everything my baby needed to grow healthy and strong!
A couple of months ago I stumbled upon a beautiful portrait of a breastfeeding mother. There was something very special captured in that picture that reminded me of that intimate time I had with Ella. It brought back such powerful and happy memories. As much as I believe that we should live life without regrets, I am sorry to admit that I didn’t breastfeed my second child. Breastfeeding is a big commitment, the length of time a mother feeds her child is a personal matter and no one should judge another woman for breastfeeding or not.
Being a part of The Milky Way Project was a moving experience for me as a woman, mother, and photographer. I met and spoke with many inspirational women who were open to my creativity and ideas. We photographed beautiful portraits of mothers breastfeeding their children. I had the pleasure of witnessing the unique language and communication between a mother and her baby, a language of love that is individual to every mum and baby!
I wanted to capture that emotion and bond that only a mother can share with her child and I sincerely hope I have done my subjects justice.
Kate Nolan is a mother and photographer born in Poland and now living in Kinvara, Co. Galway, Ireland. She is an established photographer specializing in newborn and family photography. All photographs are the copyright of Kate Nolan Photography.