It is 2018 and showing breastfeeding pictures over social media has become the norm and these include some closed groups where “hardcore breastfeeding moms share their experiences/photo” with others.
Some women consider themselves to be a successful mother when they portray themselves in amazing pictures that may not tell us the whole picture of what their real lives are like. This is because one photo only captures a small nanosecond of a person’s life, that shows their ‘wellness’ of the makeup, or the hairdo, and of their baby as they grow -from week to week, month to month. But what is really happening to a mother once they step outside the still frame and back into the day to day of real life?
In a way, the Brelfie, or the breastfeeding selfie is some sort of iceberg image. Do you remember Mara Martin with her 5 months old baby breastfeeding, whilst she was working as a model on the runway? Or better yet when, Candice Swanepoel, Victoria’s Secrets Angel also breastfed her 5 months old during her photo shooting in Rio? My personal favorite is the selfie taken by Gisele Bundchen and her 1 year old baby. Who in the F*@#ing world would breastfeed whilst having a hair stylist working on their hair, someone doing a manicure, and other people busily giving her a pedicure and another applying makeup?? Is this S@ #% really trying to pass as every other new mother’s reality?
As a lactation consultant, I appreciate their effort to normalize breastfeeding. As a matter of fact, I applaud their quest to desexualize breastfeeding as this is a powerful message that these models have made. But as a woman, I see that perhaps what these models are doing is setting the standard of being a mother to an unattainable level.
Today, my role is to be the judge of these type of selfies and to see how these photos help the wellbeing for young mothers! Allow me to say that when I see a selfie, I think of the iceberg effect. This fundamental idea is something that many women forget and this is why I am publishing this newsletter.
So, what is so important about the picture? Allow me to explain: 5-10% of the iceberg is seen over the surface of the water, the other 90-95% hides under the water. If you pay close attention, these women are perfectly shaped, bathed and with makeup on. Remember, those same women have an entourage of helpers!
Have you seen a selfie of a one or two week old baby? Let me answer you because the best answer will be “rarely”. Have you asked yourself why? Let me answer. 80% of the breastfeeding issues develop within the firsts months of life and no one in their right mind would post a picture of having problems. So unless you are a super model you do NOT have a legion of people who will place your child on your bosom, every time the baby wants to eat.
The first weeks or months of motherhood, you are in SURVIVOR MODE!. Yeap, that is the stuff the we don’t see because it is the stuff that is hidden under the water. This is the part that you don’t want to show to the world. These are the problems woman had to go thru before they are able to get back on their feet to celebrate being a mother.
So, self-awareness is the answer as it is extremely important to understand our emotions -why we feel the way we do and most importantly why we may judge ourselves to either be a success/failure when we see these photos? “Problems may be inevitable, but the meaning of each problem is not. We get to control what our problems mean based on how we choose to think about them, the standard by which we choose to measure them.”- Mark Manson.
In conclusion, you are your own unique person with your story of breastfeeding. The rest is just excess. No, you should not compromise your mental health over these Brelfies. Breastfeeding is best, but there is life outside of that role.
#PressureOut #BrelfieOut #EnjoyMotherhood.