Amber Tamblyn joined the Celebrity Club of Realness on Saturday when she shared an Instagram photo one week after welcoming her daughter with husband David Cross into the world. In the pic, Tamblyn shoots herself from the neck down wearing a stained gray shirt and jokes about her breasts leaking milk. “Who Wore It Better? Left tit or right tit?” she wrote, choosing the comical captions #MilkLife and #StarsTheyreJustLikeUs!”
Even though Tamblyn captured the moment with her unique and biting sense of humor, her photo offers an intimate look at her experience with new motherhood, as well as a moment that’s too often considered a social taboo to share. Instagram changed its policy in 2015 to allow breastfeeding pictures after it came under fire for claiming such images fell under its “No Nudity” clause, and that was only the beginning of bringing this daily experience out into the open. TV shows like Jane the Virgin have started tackling the subject in more real ways to publicize the hardships new mothers face, but Tamblyn’s photo is another kind of an opening point. She doesn’t have to bare it all to say it all. By keeping her shirt on, she reveals the demanding, exhausting and downright confusing moments mothers experience as they adjust to life after giving birth.
In other words, leakage happens.
Nursing often and using a breast pump are two ways to offset leakage and, as Tamblyn shows, it is natural, it is normal, and it is nothing to hide. Her photo offers a gateway to having a conversation about breastfeeding for new moms navigating the shared experiences of their bodies after giving birth. She reminds women everywhere that throughout the ups and downs of new motherhood having a sense of humor (and perhaps a breast pump) is key.