From the moment you lay eyes on them, hear them cry, and touch their soft, supple skin, you instantly fall in love with your babies. Celebrating a new life cradled in your arms is literally a blessing. Life is a beautiful thing, something we fight to protect and nurture. However, breastfeeding is often, unfortunately, stigmatized.
Francesca Cesari is a photographer based in Bologna, Italy. She reminisced of her own beginnings as a mother and photographed a friend of hers with a child abreast. Originally, Cesari planned on capturing the beautiful canvas of mother and child sharing a bond. That was until the little muse voiced its discomfort. After the baby was fed in a private room, a wondrous idea sparked inside Cesari’s head and altered her perspective, seeking the invisible plea of capturing the mother-child connection. This motive proved more significant than any lens could capture.
“I silently followed her,” Cesari shared, “and saw how, in a few minutes, the baby’s body moved more and more slowly while the mother was singing an undefined melody until the baby was definitively satisfied and surrendered to sleep.”
This passage reminds me of the origin story of Athena from Greco-Roman mythology. She was born from the head of her father, Zeus. Moreover, she was literally a child of pure thoughts.
Alluding to Athena’s origin, it is intriguing to consider that love far exceeds what we all think. It also exceeds what the media tells us to believe. Ponder this: a real bond between two individuals feeding off of each other and listening to their natural rhythms. Moments as beautiful and connecting as these are a class of their own. Physical and cognitive reunions that are long forgotten only appear for the superficial masks we decide to wear. Here, there are no disguises — only love.
Cesari continued her project and transpired her series that captures the maternal connection — a giving and receiving of life-forces titled “In The Room.” Deviating from her original path, Cesari, decided on giving other mothers a voice in her stigma-bending project.
It has become a window behind the scenes of real women and the beauty of life in its fullest. It shares moments of delight, and anger, through sadness and utter exhaustion.
Ultimately, Cesari yearns for the world to see past all the glitter and glam of nurturing a child. The perfect Gerber baby is nothing but a fantasy. Rather than centering on that, the focus is geared toward the strength of mothers everywhere. So instead of picking on women nursing their own flesh and blood because of a “sexually” stigmatized part of their body, decide to appreciate the beauty of it all.
Whether hiding in a corner in the hopes of evading discrepancy and revolting others, being pornographic or downright wrong for any reason, contemplate the instinctual beauty. If it is normal for animals to do it in the undomesticated world we once knew so well, why is it so frowned upon in the modernized world?
All in all, why suppress such a beautiful thing, especially in today’s time of knowing more at a younger age? Younger generations have proven to be undoubtedly wiser than prior generations, so let it out — for the right reasons. I might not be a woman, but I condone breastfeeding solely as a right and for the fact that these infants will grow up and be a part of our future. We want our children’s futures to be bright and not fed with closed-mindedness.