My decision to breastfeed started with a seed, not one that sprouted green shoots and lovely flowers, but a seed that, in its growing, grew me into a human milk feeding mother.
It is amazing how early a seed can be planted before it blossoms.
My “breastfeeding seed” was planted when I was only a child.
It wasn’t a forceful seed. It wasn’t an on-purpose seed. It wasn’t even a seed that knew it would germinate, but still that seed was planted.
It wasn’t from seeing those around me breastfeeding.
It wasn’t even from tales or stories of breastfeeding (I only heard those later).
It was a seed, appearing under the guise of a black and white photograph, found in a book on my parents’ coffee table – a photograph of my Aunt Mary, in the Wild West of America, sitting in the shade of a car, cowgirl hat dipped low, looking at her nine-month-old as she fed.
That one photograph changed everything and I mean everything.
It changed my identity. It taught me about my family’s heritage. It sent clear messages about the capabilities of breastfeeding mothers (juxtaposed next to photographs of Aunt Mimi riding horses, roping, and fulfilling motherhood as a Western ranch woman).
It made my choice to breastfeed easy. It said I could. It said life isn’t over if I do. It said this is also for you.
Ariana Youmans Keenahan holding the book “Hard Twist” by Barbara Van Cleve, featuring a photograph of Ariana’s aunt breastfeeding in 1986, alongside a photograph of Ariana breastfeeding her daughter in 2020.
And it has been more than just for me.
It has been for every client I’ve been able to serve and support through Well Fed Photography.
It has been for my children who were able to have their mother home with them in those early days (and now as they have gotten older).
It has been for every storyteller who has had the chance to share her/his/their story in our upcoming book series “Bainne Cíche: Stories of Breastfeeding Ireland” – and to feel a sense of release and safe processing of birth and feeding trauma as they did.
And it has been for every source of advocacy now and since.
That one seed has done more than nourish my children, it has nourished me.
It has shown me greater and wider possibilities. It has introduced me to powers I would have otherwise never known. It has calmed me, reassured me, sustained me, and more.
That’s what one seed (thus far) has done.
What could having a seed in the form of a photograph do for you, your loved ones, and future generations of your family?
What legacy could photographs of your own leave and create?
How many other people could have their lives and their journeys changed for the better?
How many more people could feel like they could, too?
That’s exactly why our Human Milk Feeding Photo Sessions at Well Fed Photography are here.
Because photographs are powerful.
They can change life trajectories in the very best of ways! They can serve as quiet reminders and innate sources of reaffirmation and support and they can serve to advocate for the very thing that can lead others back to their true, healthy, pure, wise power.
That’s what human milk feeding photographs can do.
Ready to see where your own human milk feeding photographs can take you?
Get in touch to book your Human Milk Feeding Photo Session today.
So Much Love,
~Ariana Youmans Keenahan
Well Fed Photography
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