4. What kind of reaction to the article were you expecting? How has reality compared to what you thought you could expect?
All of the attention was completely unexpected. I am just doing what has come naturally to me and my daughter. I breastfeed her. The fact that it was causing such an uproar was crazy. Or that a news van was parked outside our house all day until I came home with my little one (passed out in the stroller). It felt bizarre. I couldn’t believe that breastfeeding my daughter was this much news.
My family was prepared for backlash if our photo made it into the article or onto the cover. We felt this way even when we had the hope that TIME would select a more nurturing photo. People in our society are uncomfortable with the idea that breasts are biologically designed to breastfeed offspring. This is even more true past the first year.
The reaction to the article has been lackluster. However, the reaction to the cover has definitely been polarizing. I believe the tagline was the main reason for this. The reaction to “Mom Enough” caused an uproar and was viewed as pitting moms against each other. TIME using this article to play into the mommy wars was not one of the potential risks my husband and I addressed prior to the shoot.
The reaction to me personally? I was expecting curiosity, but not as much personal attention as it seems we have ended up receiving. It was a risk we were willing to take in the hopes of doing something positive to normalize breastfeeding.
I was expecting criticism, but proud to represent something that my husband and I truly believe in. For almost 7 years we have chosen to parent in a way that is different from our families’ and friends’ choices so we are used to the criticism. They way that the article was represented may have sparked a little more criticism than we imagined, but it is starting conversations about how we parent which will in turn eventually get the more positive message out there.
We had no idea that the author was taking the particular slant she did with the article. In fact before agreeing to participate, I checked and double-checked with Neil Harris of TIME that attachment parenting and the families at the photo shoot would not be portrayed in a negative light. My husband and I never expected the reaction – but we would have never guessed that TIME was hoping to spin the feature as fuel for the “mommy wars.” I’m incredibly disappointed in TIME’s choice to cast AP in terms of being mom “enough.”