Katie is hopefully the first of many in this photoseries of nursing mamas of color. She saw my very tentative post last summer asking if anyone would be interested and she was the first to respond.
Here's Katie's story in her own words:
"Because of complications due to severe gestational diabetes, I was induced with Julius at 35 weeks. Our breastfeeding journey got off to a rough start because of my inverted nipples, slight jaundice, his smallness, building my supply, and shallow latch. But within 6 weeks postpartum we were in a groove. I also pumped at work until 12 months, and we are now at 16 months, nursing on demand evenings, mornings, and middle of the night. I owe a debt of gratitude and thanks to my community of support for helping us get this far. Each element of support has played a crucial and fundamental role is my success as a breastfeeding mother. My mother nursed me past 18 months, and so she is absolutely my cheerleader. I have an amazing group of friends, including a lactation consultant who was very giving of her time during my darkest days. Maybe the most important message of support came from her when she said "There's milk right behind those tears", and I was able to take that mantra and push forward despite the struggle, pain, and self-doubt. My extended family was on board, and my amazing husband was always ready with a water bottle, a pillow, or a shoulder to cry on. I am also just very proud of myself, of my body, my strength, and my determination. Through this process I've found that even just looking at pictures of nursing and pumping moms is an inspiration, especially images of women of color. I'm happy to share my story and image, especially if it means another Mama who is struggling to continue nursing, or is missing a key element of support, is inspired to give it one more day."