Motherhood Isn’t Just About Models Breastfeeding on a Runway
By now, chances are that you've seen the crazy viral image of Mara Martin, the model who breastfed her 5-month-old daughter, Aria, on the runway. Martin was chosen among 16 people to walk that runaway during the Miami Swim Week and the decision to have her walk while nursing was reportedly a very unplanned and spontaneous one, as Martin was nursing her baby and it was her time to walk, so the SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day asked her if she would be willing to let her baby continue to eat while she walked.
Martin jumped at the chance and she quickly became famous around the world, not only for being the first model to breastfeed on the runway but for being a sort of symbol for modern motherhood.
News outlets praised her for being a very visual and physical portrayal of how mothers can do it all and have it all, and Martin herself posted a similar sentiment on her Instagram page, writing:
“I can’t believe I am waking up to headlines with me and my daughter in them for doing something I do every day. It is truly so humbling and unreal, to say the least. I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!”
On one hand, I'm applauding Martin just being a mom doing her job and feeding her baby; that's something that almost every mother across the planet can relate to. It's just what we do.
But on the other hand, I have to say that I'm just a teensy bit tired of all of these moms only going “viral” when they are literal models with a literal team of people paid to get them ready with hair and makeup and body waxing and eyebrow shaping and manicures and spray tans and who knows what else goes into walking a runway before they are praised for their “mothering.”
Like, where is the praise for the mom sitting unshowered in her mesh panties, gritting her teeth as she breastfeeds through a raging case of mastitis and the older kids destroy the house and she's crying because she genuinely doesn't know how she's going to make it through the day?
Do you feel me on this, mamas?
As a fellow mom who has also happened to breastfeed, I don't want to take anything away from Martin. She is just doing her job and she can't help that she went viral for just doing what her body does in rocking a swimsuit and feeding her baby. But I will say that I am a little frustrated with all of the attention she received because it seems to highlight the fact that breastfeeding is only “cool” if you happen to look like a model in a bikini while doing it, you know what I'm saying?
When, in reality, the true superpowers of motherhood are about so much more than the glamorous moments that go viral, like breastfeeding in a glittery gold bikini. The true superpowers of motherhood are found in the moments you are the mom going to your kid's school when he is crying at lunchtime again, just to talk him through it; or the mom spending all of her time pumping to try to give her premature baby any extra nourishment; or the mom who is smiling right through the judgement when she pulls out a bottle of formula, knowing full well that it's what her baby needs in this moment.
Motherhood is about so much more.
To her credit, Martin, while celebrating her own body, her own powers as a mom, and the beauty of breastfeeding was quick to point out to herself that a mom just doing what a mom does in feeding her baby and rocking her job should not make national headlines. To her original post, she added, “But to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline because it shouldn’t be a headline! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see.”
Amen, Martin. But we are still glad you had your moment while acknowledging all of the other stories of mamas doing their things, too.