Around this time last year, I set off with my family on our first set of travels to photograph families being featured in our book of breastfeeding stories.
I didn’t specifically plan for our travels to occur during World Breastfeeding Week, but I suppose that’s how divine planning unfolds.
After having spent 83 hours during lockdown interviewing book participants, it was wonderful to finally meet some of our amazing storytellers in person.
During this particular trip, we traveled to Galway, Tipperary, Clare, Limerick, and Kerry!
We were supported in the most generous and beautiful ways – from offers of accommodation (Flora and Tara), to yummy vegan cookies (Valerie), homemade rhubarb crumble (Maria), and recommendations for my family to be entertained while I was spending my time photographing (Jennifer), to name a few.
It was truly one of the most amazing examples of a village I have ever witnessed.
When selecting participants for the book, I made selections from a range of experiences that were important to be included in the book, but I also admittedly made a lot of decisions based on how it felt to speak to each participant.
And trusting those feelings has made for the most lovely group of storytellers – far beyond what I could have imagined when first envisioning the book.
I suppose the only thing I couldn’t have planned for was a global pandemic that would shake up scheduling and release dates more than a few times!
Due to the various lockdowns and also to filling more perspectives after my interviews with the Irish Examiner, Jen Zamparelli of 2FM, and Andrea Gilligan of Lunchtime Live, we are still on the journey of meeting and photographing the last of our book participants.
For those who are waiting for their Photo Sessions, we will be in touch over the coming weeks. For those who have not yet reviewed the written version of their story, this will likely come later this year.
To my surprise, the written portion of the book has proven to be the longest part of the process. I had thought that planning and traveling for Photo Sessions would be longer, but that was not so!
It feels particularly important to adequately convey the incredible stories that have been entrusted to me and that has meant giving each story their proper time.
I had no clue before starting this project that many writers spend as much as 14 years getting their first book out into the world! While I do not intend to take 14 years, I have had to be much more flexible in my own timelines (hello, COVID, motherhood, family life, marriage, self-care time, and running a business).
I hope that each participant has felt appreciation throughout the process and that they have felt valued for the incredible contributions they are making to breastfeeding in Ireland.
If you would like a better insight into the book, what we are hoping to achieve with it, and just how much I’ve appreciated every contributor, I recently shared an interview via the Living a Life Well Fed podcast that I did with one of our book participants (definitely worth subscribing to the podcast, by the way, as we will have other book participants and many more breastfeeding-related episodes coming soon).
You can enjoy the full interview by clicking the video below.
If you would like to help spread the word about the book, we would welcome the sharing of this blog post or our recent social media posts about the podcast episode (found below).
We also have a Living a Life Well Fed episode featuring another of our amazing book participants, which can be enjoyed by clicking the video below.
If you have friends who would like to contribute to our blog of breastfeeding stories, they can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org to do so.
Likewise, if you have friends, family members, or colleagues who would like to be kept up-to-date on the book or other breastfeeding-related news, they can do so via the link below.
Do you have other ideas about how you can assist us in bringing this project to life?
Get in touch via email (email@example.com) or over the phone (+353852848667). We would love to connect with you!
Until our next update, we wish you a very happy World Breastfeeding Week!
All the Best,
~Ariana Youmans Keenahan
Director of Well Fed Photography
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