Photographer and mother Ivette Ivens has experienced the kind of close-mindedness that far too many mothers of infants have dealt with. She explained to us what it was like to try to breastfeed her child in public: "I've been through the tough times when it hurt, leaked...people weren't happy with me nursing." Rather than let herself feel needlessly shamed, she took that reality and used it as inspiration for her new photo series, Breastfeeding Goddesses
. "I had to overcome all this, and it made me stronger, more confident, and even understanding when it comes to ignorant people. I wanted to inspire other moms and show people the divine side of breastfeeding."
As you click through to her photos, you'll see what Ivens means when she says "divine." Her subjects — wearing floral crowns and sweeping, airy skirts and dresses — embody a different image of nursing than we've seen recently
, and Ivens acknowledges that: "It's quite popular now to show the raw side of motherhood, something that we see every day. I decided to embrace what's invisible: feelings. I frame the mother's natural beauty, surrounded by her inner bliss... I accent her confidence, strength, and self-love, because I strongly believe that if you love yourself, you're able to spread the feeling and do beautiful things."
These idealized images remind us that breastfeeding is a demonstration of mothers' love and power — as caretakers and, most importantly, as women.
Ivens' book, Breastfeeding Goddesses
, is now available for presale
through her website.