2. What were you hoping to achieve by being a part of this and do you feel that you were successful in achieving your goals?
I thought – how cool that a national magazine wants to show/talk about breastfeeding an older child. I wrote at the time to a friend, that TIME “may vilify it in the article, but at least there’s a conversation happening in TIME for the masses to be exposed to the idea” of breastfeeding beyond infancy. I still think that’s true. If my goal was conversation, then yes, I think that has definitely been achieved!
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My hope was to be a catalyst for change in how we view breastfeeding. It seems that we have been moving at a snail’s pace towards normalizing breastfeeding and this article looked like an opportunity to share a positive message about AP and breastfeeding. We (meaning my husband and I) knew normalizing breastfeeding wouldn’t change overnight. However, we needed to take a stand and show there is no shame in parenting our children the way we know is best for our family.
I believe the cover alone did not achieve this goal. However, it has made the topic very public and I do believe the AP and breastfeeding communities have really stepped up to have difficult conversations with people about their misconceptions. It has been a community effort, and the brunt of the work has been undertaken by people who did not ask for it. I feel such a sense of community among mothers and fathers stepping up to say no to judgement among any healthy parenting style, and helping educate people about AP and breastfeeding.
We were excited to be a part of a article that we were told was introducing Dr. Sears and Attachment Parenting to the world. The way that TIME wrote the article may not have been as positive as I was led to believe, but the message has been getting out. Amongst the mountain of criticism arose a very strong, confident steadfast response in the Attachment Parenting community, thanks to Jamie, Dr. Sears, API, Mayim and others. People are learning about it, paying attention and through that those who resonate with those philosophies can find support.
I am passionate about normalizing breastfeeding – in public, past infancy, etc. I celebrate every woman who attempts to breastfeed, for three days or three years. I believe that one reason people in Western society are still so uncomfortable seeing women breastfeeding is because we do not see it enough. Our culture places much more emphasis on the sexual aspect of the breast, so much so that many people are uneasy seeing or discussing the primary, biological purpose of the breast – to nourish our children. By participating in this photo shoot, I hoped to be one more voice encouraging women, normalizing breastfeeding, sending out a message that nurturing your children in this way is normal, natural, and healthy. While I do not feel that the article had this message at all, I do think that there have been opportunities for education and conversation that would not have happened otherwise.