As a mother of two children and expecting a third, I have put in several years worth of time breastfeeding.
I’ve been told to cover up in public. I’ve had people say rude things when I posted images of breastfeeding on social media. And I’ve heard more “advice” about when to quit nursing my children than I care to count.
So when I heard about the #NormalizeBreastfeeding movement, I felt a breath of relief that there are strong women like Ivette Ivens out there defending breastfeeding for what it is: a natural and normal act.
Unfortunately, stories about mothers being shamed for breastfeeding in public are becoming increasingly common. But we can take comfort in the fact that these stories are often accompanied by powerful voices, striving to take a stand against all of the backlash.
Ivette Ivens, a Chicago-based breastfeeding photographer, is one of those voices, and she is about to release a book that will make your heart swell. In her new book, Breastfeeding Goddesses, Ivens aims her camera at both everyday and celebrity mothers breastfeeding their children in an effort to normalize breastfeeding in public.
Most recently, Ivens traveled to London to photograph British model and Formula One heiress Tamara Ecclestone for a very important reason.
Ecclestone, a fierce defender of normalizing breastfeeding, had taken to social media to post “brelfies” (breastfeeding selfies) of her nursing her 3-year-old daughter, Sophia, and it — unsurprisingly — attracted many negative comments.
Ivens took note. “Just like Tamara,” says Ivens, “I’ve received many negative comments for breastfeeding my children in public and when I saw that she’s receiving the same treatment I did, I felt a big urge to fight back and show the world how divine it actually is.”
Ecclestone, who was happy to contribute to Ivens’s project, also felt a need to stand up for breastfeeding moms.
The model explained to PEOPLE:
“The negative comments I received did not affect me, and on the contrary made me want to stand up and show my support for all the breastfeeding moms out there who are being judged daily for trying to do their best as a parent.”
Ecclestone also told PEOPLE that she plans to continue breastfeeding Sophia until her little girl no longer wants to. Ecclestone simply reasons that “Sophia finds breastfeeding very comforting and as a mom, that’s all I care about.”
And Ivens’s photo shoot captures Ecclestone doing just that: comforting her daughter. With natural light and soft, muted colors, Ecclestone and her daughter embody absolutely everything beautiful and natural about breastfeeding.
So to all of you breastfeeding mothers out there: keep up the great work, mamas!