We have an amazing calendar hanging on the peaceful parenting wall this year. It is one that wonderfully captures the Beauty of Mothering. Throughout its pages (13 months) the Beauty of Mothering includes splendid images of nursing mothers and their little ones, paired with outstanding quotes from a wide variety of literary works.
If you have a room or office that needs some added love hanging on the wall, we'd recommend ordering one of these before the 2011 supplies run out. In fact, when ours arrived in the mail we loved it so much that we purchased a couple extra to give as gifts to local mother/baby shelters.
Our only critique of the calendar is that all the mothers pictured are white mommas ~ hopefully throughout this year, Beauty of Mothering will have a wide variety of moms who volunteer to be a part of the project so that next year's calendar represents a colorful diverse collection of the true splendor that is mothering.
Makers say that the mission of this calendar is to highlight the beauty and natural act that is breastfeeding. It is one that goes hand-in-hand with gentle mothering, and is an important message to stand behind.
At their site, Beauty of Mothering makes these statements about nursing in public:
We live in a confused society. Our society celebrates women’s willingness to show off their bodies by wearing provocative clothing and being publicly sexual. Women who wear low-cut tops, short skirts, and court male ogling are considered “liberated” and “confident”. However, the minute a woman unbuttons her blouse to breastfeed a hungry baby, people get uncomfortable! A woman wearing a low-cut shirt that shows off her breasts would be welcome in most public establishments, but a nursing mother may be asked to go in a bathroom to feed her baby. Ironically enough, most provocative images of topless women are considered “censored” if the nipple, the most functional part of the breast, is covered. Indeed, we suffer from “nipplephobia,” or a fear of the female nipple.
We suspect that the comfort with open sexuality and discomfort with breastfeeding and nipples stems from our society’s unwillingness to accept the fact that babies are a natural result of sexual intercourse. When the purpose of sex becomes pleasing men, and children's and women’s needs are marginalized, nipples become “uncomfortable” reminders that women’s bodies were designed to bear and nurture children - not to operate as sex toys. Sadly, many women buy into the “woman’s body as sex object” mentality when they discourage other women from nursing in public for fear of husbands or sons seeing an exposed breast.
Ina May Gaskin suggests that the answer to “nipplephobia” is for people to see more images of breastfeeding and become used to the idea that breastfeeding is normal and natural. We live in a sea of images that convey the idea that women’s breasts are solely organs of sexual attraction (and that being a mother, especially breastfeeding mother, is the epitome of un-attractiveness).
Every photograph depicting breastfeeding as lovely and loving, fights back against this mentality. By creating beautiful images of one of the most profoundly nurturing acts of motherhood, we hope to change perspectives of nursing. We celebrate the beauty and joy of mothering with artistic portraits of breastfeeding. We also do “social commentary” photos to make people stop and think about how they perceive breastfeeding and the female body. Our work is available in calendars and wall-size prints on our site. Please join us in helping combat the disease!
Order your Beauty of Mothering calendar directly from their site, here.