An eyebrow-raising breastfeeding photo is being defended by its subject, after prompting a wave of backlash online.
Originally posted almost four years ago, the photo shows US mum of three Marie Bekki nursing her son while on a quick break from a softball match.
What sets it apart is that a rushed Marie decided to feed the hungry toddler through the chain fence, rather than walk outside the compound.
The resulting shot shows Marie with her breast wedged in a gap in the linked fencing, with her son latching on from the other side.
Though the mum smiles at the camera in the shot, once online, there wasn't much to smile about.
Backlash to a ‘sweet’ moment
The resurfaced photo has attracted plenty of critical comments, but the mum says both the moment and photo were 100% natural.
Marie says her son, then one, started crying during one of her softball matches, and the babysitter couldn’t settle him.
“I tried to talk to him and calm him with songs prior to nursing,” Mari told Yahoo Lifestyle, adding she decided to nurse him when nothing else worked.
At the time, the young full-time mum said she had decided to join a softball team, desperate for some adult interaction but felt conflicted about leaving her kids.
“I joined a softball team to regain a part of me that I had forgotten about when I became a mum,” she said, adding she would often struggle with feeling guilty about taking the ‘me time’.
In this instance, she said she felt so guilty that she decided to mix her sport and motherhood, and for her, that made the photo special.
Haters coming out to bat
For others there were one thousand angles to slam.
Marie said she was trolled for her son’s age, but clarified that he was only one at the time.
She explained that many said a breastfeeding woman shouldn’t be playing sport in the first place, that she should have used a breast pump or a bottle, or that she should have made the toddler wait.
“Call me a hater, but breastfeeding a kid through a dirty ass fence that looks old enough to grab a juice box is just weird,’ was one age-related criticism.
“This is just plain lazy,’ another said.
Others praised the mum, agreeing that the photo normalised and celebrated the often-vilified act of public breastfeeding.
“I seriously love this!!! You do what ya got to do to feed your kid!!!” one encouraged.
”You go mamma!” cheered another. “Screw the people who don’t understand!”
As for Marie, she loves the attention the photo still gets today.
“I enjoy seeing it recirculate,” she said. “It appears that every year it does recirculate I get more and more positive feedback from people reaching out.”
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