Breastfeeding is one of the most natural acts that are crucial for survival. Yet, somehow the world has more acceptance to see women’s breasts sexualized rather than used for their essential purpose. So much controversy around the issue. And while nursing and this whole postpartum phase is usually associated with lack of confidence, extras weight and baby blues, how unusual is it to see a gorgeous model breastfeeding her five-month-old daughter on stage. Mara Martin, held and nursed her daughter Aria at Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit show. With an immense appreciation of her act that supports the normalization of breastfeeding, The Kangaroo Mamas wanted to hear the details of the story from her directly.
What were the circumstances that lead you to breastfeed your daughter on stage?
I have always wanted to be apart of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue for as long as I can remember. They had a first ever open casting call, so I thought about attending. Me and my fiancé had just moved to Key Largo, Florida and I hadn’t found a babysitter yet and since Aria is exclusively breastfed, my only option was to take her to the casting (or not go). So I decided to take her. She was apart of the entire weekend and when I had found out I made the top 16 and would be walking in a runway show, the editor of the magazine, MJ Day asked if I wanted to walk in a mommy and me type look. So the day of the show, we got her dressed in her cute bikini and headed backstage. The show kept getting pushed back and she started to get extremely hungry. So, like I had done through the entire casting process and do on a daily basis, I started feeding her. MJ came over and said that if Aria wasn’t finished, she would support me walking out the runway with her! I decided to go for it.
How did you feel when this act was all over the headlines?
I didn’t think much of it at first, because for me, breastfeeding has been such a natural and normal experience. But the next days and weeks, I have seen how many people around the world felt impacted and empowered by this. I just now am starting to realize how empowering of a moment it was not just for me. But for all mother’s, all women out there. It’s incredible to see the amount of support I have received!
What would you tell to other mothers who feel uncomfortable in their postpartum bodies?
I would tell them to be confident and proud of themselves. Your body created another human, your body is extraordinary. No matter how you look, remember that.
Also, whether you want to get in shape right a way or want to take your time, listen to your body and what’s right for you and your life. Don’t worry about other people’s journeys. Focus on you and what’s right for you and your baby.
Tell us more about your views regarding parenting and breastfeeding?
I think that we all have the right to feed our babies how we want, when we want, and where we want. Although breastfeeding is a natural and normal thing for me, it might not be for someone else. I know plenty of women who can’t breastfeed or don’t want to, and that’s ok. We are all just trying to do the best we can and what’s best for ourselves and our baby. Let’s support each other in those decisions as parents and know we are all doing our very best.