Posted on August 26 2015
What an honor and privilege to host community chats with such inspiring people as Jade Bealle, revolutionary photographer and founder of A Beautiful Body Project. We welcomed Jade to a chat on our Facebook page where we discussed normalizing breastfeeding and body positivity. It was exhilarating and inspiring! Read on for some of the Q & A with Jade and our community, or read the full chat here.
MW - Moby Wrap JB - Jade Bealle C - Community
MW: Jade, what made you start a project encouraging moms to love the skin they're in?
JB: Basically because life is short, I have loathed my body since i was about 10 years old and I was seeing that a lot of my "sisters" felt the same way. Also, the post birth body is GORGEOUS!!! In all of our variations.
C: What's a mantra you would encourage new mamas to say themselves immediately postpartum to help with the transition to mommyhood?
JB: I AM [name here] AND I BIRTHED A HUMAN AND I AM SUPERWOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously.
MW: What types of barriers do you see for breastfeeding becoming something that is no longer publicly controversial? In other words, how do we "normalize breastfeeding"?
JB: We must start by feeling totally comfortable!!! We must also must practice HARD how not to take things personally. A woman in Mongolia wrote me lat week thanking me for my work. She said that in her country when a woman doesn't breastfeed wherever she is, people think that the birth mother has died... I found that interesting.
MW: You recently shared a photo of you nursing your boy who is, correct me if I'm wrong, 4 years old? It received a lot of positive feedback, but there were of course, the negative comments. Can you talk about that experience?
JB: My son Sequoia is 3 and a half. It was a spontaneous desire to make a photo together of him breastfeeding as I hadn't made any in almost a year! Yea I got threatened, called names... One woman wrote me personally and said she thought I should die and to make my son a sandwich already! I couldn't help but think, but how do i make him a sandwich if I am dead? I get a lot of negative energy for the work I do but feminism is never easy!
MW: Why do you think it even matters to people how long a mom chooses to bf her own child?
JB: Because our culture sees a breast as a sexual object only... they cannot see the sacredness of feeding a child until he/she is ready. In some cultures, mom's BF as long as they can as there is not a lot of food... It's what our bodies do (most of the time).
MW: Here's one we sometimes hear. What's your reaction to this: I can understand nursing a toddler in countries where food is scarce, but we live in America, so nursing isn't necessary after the first year or two.
C: And the crazy thing is they make formula toddler transition to around age 4 but we aren't allowed to breastfeed that long. So weird.
JB: And in countries where food is scarce children respect their parents a lot more than our culture.... hmmmmm...
C: Recent photo I shared of our breastfeeding journey. I am currently nursing my 3 toddlers. Twin girls 3.5 years old and mister 2 years. I am very open about our experiences, and my decision to let them self wean. About 99% of the negative/rude/inappropriate comments I get are online, from strangers, whom never met me or my children. Those get an eye roll, don't know you, you aren't raising my children, bye. But how do you deal with comments from family, that you love - I have 1 family member with teenage boys and she has completely shut me out because 'I don't want them seeing that.' That stings. Especially when these teenage boys are missing the chance to get to know my 3 wonderful kids!
JB: OMG this photo collage made me cry... BEAUTIFUL!!! I would say give it time. Time heals. Understand that she doesn't get it. Forgive her. Maybe write her and say how hurt you are and that you hope when you are no longer breastfeeding you can be close again. You must take care of you first...
C: Jade, how do you take such amazing photos. How do you get the confidence? I want to do one but not comfortable with my post body just yet.
JB: Oh gurl! for most of us it kind of like a 'fake it until you make it." We make the photos, we trust it's because we are gonna love them and learn to see ourselves in a new light. I have only photographed maybe ONE woman who wasn't extremely nervous. And 95% of the women I photo LOVE the end art and love sharing the photos on my FB page and that starts the end to the faking it until you make it cuz you start making it: to self love and adoring your body, for many of us loving our bodies is something so unknown! For me since I was 10 I loathed my body... No loner! I love my rolls and all!!!!
Oh and guess who joined us for the chat? Thank you to Jade and to the wonderful and supportive MOBY community for helping us keep the conversation going. Happy World Breastfeeding Month!