2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Breastfeeding fulfills a primary need to feed a child, but many women do not feel comfortable doing so in public places. Normalizing breastfeeding in public and breaking the isolation of mothers still remains a social challenge.
Initiated by Sabrina Garneau, founder of the breastfeeding clothing company Maman GAGA brings together photographs of breastfeeding women in various public places in Montreal. The pictures are accompanied by poetry texts. Through art, the instigators hope to overcome the discomfort that persists with breastfeeding in public.
The creation of this book gave rise to touching moments, as Maude Colin recounts: “We were able to attend breastfeeding sessions in tandem, with twin girls and children of different ages. The children touch each other, look at each other. It's impressive! »
Breaking maternal isolation
When his spouse first told him about the project, Hubert Côté did not see the importance of posing for the cause. “Breastfeeding meets a primary need. For us, it was never about hiding. But the young father soon realizesthat her opinion on breastfeeding was not shared by all. “This collection is useful for mothers, to convince them to dare to breastfeed in public,” he says.
With this first book, the instigators want to break the isolation of mothers. "Breastfeeding women avoid leaving their homes because they don't feel comfortable breastfeeding their child in public," says Sabrina Garneau.
However, during maternity, activities such as having a coffee with a friend or running errands are crucial for the well-being of mothers.
“When I had my boy, I needed to get out to see my friends and family, to create a new social circle. It was my mental he alth that was at stake,” recalls Karel Bélanger. This young single mother is featured on the cover of the collection with her son Charli.
Breastfeeding, a source of intimidation
The personal experience of Karel Bélanger demonstrates the legitimacy of a collection like this. Snapshots of the project posted on his Facebook page earned him derogatory remarks from some people, notably inviting him to "go hide". "As long as we don't cover up, we get reproachful looks," laments the young woman, who doesn't hold it against her, however.
And who is tougher on breastfeeding mothers in public? " The women! », agree the instigators and collaborators of the collection. A reaction provoked probably aroused by jealousy, they argue, which perhaps hides a wound moredeep in some women who have failed to breastfeed their babies…
Cover this breast, which I cannot see
“It doesn’t make sense to require a woman to breastfeed in a public restroom. Would you eat there? », Illustrates Maude Colin. The latter denounces society's double talk about the female body: "It's okay to see a woman's breasts in a beer advertisement, but it's not acceptable for a woman to breastfeed in public.. »
Author Stéphanie Robillard-Sarganis agrees. “This collection goes beyond breastfeeding. I lent my pen for the breasts that we ask to hide,”says the young feminist and mother of two children.
Bringing together around a hundred volunteer collaborators, the collection presents a diversified image of breastfeeding, including prolonged breastfeeding, which is rather misunderstood, even disapproved. "In popular thought, breastfeeding is associated with 3 to 6 months, or even up to a year at most," says Sabrina Garneau, who is still breastfeeding her three-year-old boy. Beyond the need for satiety, breastfeeding also fills a socio-emotional need between mother and child. »
All profits from the sale of the collection will be donated to La route du lait. This program, headed by Nourri-Source Montreal, brings together merchants who offer a breastfeeding space to mothers, with no obligation to purchase.