Breastfeeding is considered to be vital in making sure that your infant grows healthy. However, one of the most amazing and mind boggling effect that comes from breastfeeding is the fact that is establishes a bond between the mother and the child. And. this remarkable phenomenon was documented in a photo series called Women in the Wild created by photographer and mother of four Erin White.
White shared that her inspiration for the series came about when she herself had difficulties breastfeeding. She stated that the project gave her a boost of confidence.
Inspired by an image by Stephanie Karr Studios, her local breastfeeding community in Kaiserslautern, Germany wanted to create their own group nursing photo as well and White was more than happy to volunteer as the official photographer. During the photo shoot, the mother subjects shared their own unique stories about breastfeeding, body image, and loss.
“There was so much wonderful energy between all the mamas and babies,” White shared in an interview with Huffington Post.
The photo series received quite an immense following and outpouring of emotional emails from mothers across the world after she shared it on social media. It was then that White began to expand her project. She included their stories along with their photos and with help from her associates Liliana Taboas and Megan Flanagan, her project titled “Women in the Wild” was born.
The project comprises of 51 mothers from different parts of the world. According to White:
“They are so inspiring and real and relatable.”
During the sessions, the mothers were asked to wear what made them feel most comfortable. Some remained fully clothed, while others stripped down to their underwear.
“I see a lot of women decide to go more nude once we are at the shoot and they see other mothers doing it, It gives you a feeling of strength I think. You’re completely vulnerable, but there’s a whole group of you so you find confidence and power standing with your fellow mothers for a cause.”
Here are just some of the wonderful mothers featured in the series.
“To breastfeed or not to breastfeed was never a question for me. I always knew it was something I was going to do for my child. Even comments I would receive from friends about how my breasts would never be the same didn’t scare me. It just seemed right. It seemed natural. It seemed beautiful. I don’t breastfeed because it’s “cool” or because it’s “what’s in right now” or because “I love to show off my breasts in public.” I do it because it is simply what is best for my child. My body isn’t the same. And it probably never will be. But, honestly, I believe it’s better than ever!”
“My baby boy Asher is 4 months old, my second child but first to be breastfed. With my first marriage I was young and was talked out of breastfeeding my daughter due to the fact that his family didn’t. My new husband is very supportive of my decision to breastfeed our son. It has helped tremendously with post partum depression and the bond with my baby is indescribable. I have struggled with my weight since I had my first child but the older I get the more accepting I am becoming of my body that housed my two lovely humans. My stretch marks and extra skin around my mid section are constant reminders of the miracles God has blessed me with.”
“I’m acting outside of the norm. Breastfeeding as a black woman has its challenges, but the biggest one is making sure the message I am sending is a clear one. While I’m sure nearly all breastfeeding mothers who nurse feel this way, I speak from a different angle. For years, black nursing moms were a myth, a fairytale, the unseen. As moms of every race graced the cover of magazines, I patiently waited for my green light–a phenomenal black woman to make a statement so bold she would inspire women of color to come out of hiding.”
“In college, I was sexually assaulted after having too much to drink at a party. For years afterward, I felt disconnected from and disgusted with my body. How could it have betrayed me so brazenly? I was smart, I was careful, I wasn’t supposed to be a rape victim. Even after meeting my husband, who loves, respects, and cherishes me, the disconnect remained. My first child’s birth, via unnecessary cesarean, seemed like a natural continuation of my feelings of being out of control when it came to my own body. It wasn’t until I began my breastfeeding journey with her that I finally began to feel as though I had some sort of ownership over my own anatomy again. I couldn’t feel more in control of myself. For the first time I feel like celebrating my body as a wonderful and precious instrument rather than a shell of betrayal.”
“This morning I felt out of my comfort zone, scared and just unbelievably out of control. I have body issues, so for me the thought of getting undressed to nurse my son in front of a camera was way out of my league. As my hands gripped the steering wheel this morning I thought back to the excitement I felt when this was announced. I promised myself at 25 I would step out of my comfort zone. I would gain self confidence this year.”
“For whatever reason, it took my mom about 6 months to find and “retrieve” me. Soon after coming home, my mom’s current boyfriend began molesting me. This man did all sorts of wrong to my family and every time we moved to escape him – he always found us. The sexual abuse wasn’t frequent and didn’t last – but the physical abuse to my whole family went on for years. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever been so afraid of another person. I can remember thinking that he was going to kill all of us and praying that he would just leave my brothers alone…
Being a mother has given me a new outlook on life. I was always wishing the time away before them… I couldn’t wait for the next big thing, hoping it would bring me happiness. I don’t even use the phrase “I can’t wait” anymore because every single moment is so precious to me, and I refuse to wish their lives away when it’s already happening so fast!!! The truth is, I don’t have anything to wish for anymore … there’s no more waiting because I feel so complete in my role as a mom.”
Jamie And Courtney
“My breastfeeding relationship has been totally awe inspiring. From the first few days of sleepy newborn latches to feeling like superwoman for growing a human with exclusively my milk for the first 6 months. I was her lifeline for literally 16 months from conception to solid foods. Courtney has been the biggest reason I am able to keep nursing Sophia. I can see how imperative it is to have a supportive partner, without her physical and emotional support I would have been more apt to stop when things got rough.”
“I have always struggled with self image. I was born with cleft lip and palate and have endured a dozen or so corrective surgeries throughout my childhood and adolescence. Many of them were very painful and came with long and difficult recoveries. None of those surgeries however held any comparison to the painfulness that other people can inflict with their words. As a society, we need to stop shaming and attacking things that we see as different or abnormal. We need to love each other and embrace those differences and imperfections that make us all unique… All women are beautiful and as mothers, we need to embrace every perceived flaw because we are teaching our children how to view themselves and how to treat others”.
Catching Lightning Bugs Along The Blue Ridge
“Breastfeeding my babies was something that was just ingrained in me. I always knew we would be in it for the long haul, however long that meant. I was blessed with an easy start and an amazing support system. I know not everyone is so lucky. I know this bond is something to be cherished and I cherish it every single day. I wanted to be involved with this project because I wanted to remember how special it is to be able to connect with my boys and how truly blessed I am.”
“I undressed in front of a complete stranger and nursed my 11 month old son. This is an amazing project, to normalize breast feeding, to show others how beautiful a bond between a mother and their child(ren) can be and to help mothers like me gain confidence is a beautiful thing. I’m ecstatic to have taken a part of this. Thank you.”
Baumholder, Germany Group
Kaiserslautern, Germany Group
Knoxville, TN Group
Find out the real importance of breastfeeding and the benefits it gives for both mother and child in the clips below.