Photographer Alannah Morton celebrates the magic of breastfeeding in her moving new series, The Kindred Collection. The Delivery speaks to the mother of two about her aim to empower women and normalise breastfeeding, as well as her own personal journey through motherhood.
Congratulations on The Kindred Collection, what inspired this project?
Thank you so much! I have always found these raw images of women so powerful. In the last few months I have felt a shift in social media and have seen a lot more people sharing this kind of raw imagery and it gave me the confidence to start my own project. I thought – wouldn’t it be amazing if I could capture these images and use them to help women maybe not just in the Gold Coast, maybe not even just in Australia! This current series is not a ‘breast is best’ campaign. I am standing behind the movement to normalise breastfeeding. It is about women’s rights to be able breastfeed in public. This is something that all women, breastfeeding or not, should care about. A mother can choose to breastfeed her baby in public, or in private, but her choice shouldn’t be determined by the fact that she feels shamed. If we are going to support women’s rights, we should support ALL women’s rights.
What is your vision for The Kindred Collection?
I have so many ideas for TKC! The project is all about empowering women through promoting a positive body image and normalising breast feeding by sharing these raw and moving images of women with the world. The first project for The Kindred Collection is a breastfeeding series but I am working on a few other ideas at the moment, postpartum bodies, pregnancy, ageing – the list goes on!
Is there a particular image that moves you most?
The image of the woman from my first session standing together in a row. It shows them all standing up for the movement as a united voice and this is what the project is all about!
Can you please share a little about your personal journey into motherhood and breastfeeding experience?
I fell pregnant with our daughter, Baylee, unexpectedly. We were very young and my pregnancy journey was quite difficult. I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarium (extreme morning sickness) from around four weeks gestation. This saw me having to take a lot of time off work, being hospitalised multiple times for fluids and iron infusions, and general feelings of depression. We were living separately at the time and I ended up moving in with his parents to save money. We worked hard to save and ended up being able to buy our home together. We settled when I was 36 weeks pregnant and slept on a mattress on the floor while we built a bed for ourselves! Everything we had for the baby was either borrowed or gifted to us second hand. When I look back on this time now I honestly don’t know how we did it – and I’m so proud of how far we have come to get where we are now!
I woke up to my waters breaking at 39 weeks. My contractions came on pretty hard and fast and by the time we got to the hospital I was in active labour. It was a pretty quick seven hours from the time my waters broke to holding our precious baby girl. She was born into the water and didn’t cry for over an hour! It was beautiful! We had trouble with her feeding, she had trouble latching and I ended up expressing for the first two weeks until she was able to latch on herself. Once she got the hang of it we were off. I was a little nervous to breastfeed in public at first but I quickly forgot all about the feelings of embarrassment and knew that I was doing what was best for my baby. If she needed a feed, she got a feed! It was only once that I was told I should be “doing that somewhere else”. It broke my spirits a little, and I became a little reluctant for a while to breastfeed in public, but it didn’t last long. Baylee weaned herself around 10 months when I became pregnant with Asher, I think perhaps my supply dropped and she preferred her food. My pregnancy with him was much the same though I was already working a lot less than I was the first time so I found it a little easier to manage. I was induced at 38 weeks because he was measuring big. He was born in an hour and a half and took only three pushes! He fed straight away and basically never stopped! Even to this day he eats like a machine!!
What’s the greatest lesson motherhood has taught you?
“I was told I should be ‘doing that somewhere else’. It broke my spirits a little, and I became a little reluctant for a while to breastfeed in public…”
How has your relationship with your body changed since pregnancy and birth?
My relationship with my body before children was never great. I was born with dislocated knees and grew up with big scars on the front of both of my legs. I was always so self conscious throughout my teenage years and would always try to hide them. I was always so jealous of all of my beautiful friends and what I considered their perfect bodies. Since becoming a mother I have realised that there are so many more important things in life than the way you look. It is truly amazing what our bodies go through during pregnancy and birth and I now absolutely love my body knowing what I’ve done to bring my two children into this world. Our scars tell our story and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without them!
Describe your parenting style…
I think I have quite a relaxed parenting style. I love to let my kids figure things out by themselves and learn from their own mistakes. No bubble wrap here!!
Favourite piece of advice you’ve received on the parenting journey?
You will never look back on your life and wished that you spent less time with your children!
What do you do for self care?
This is something I have been trying to work on. I’ve never really been great at self care! I feel like my mind is always running and I have trouble winding down. Lately I have been making time to read a book and going to pilates and this definitely has been helping me feel much more relaxed
“If we are going to support women’s rights, we should support ALL women’s rights.”
Qualities you admire most in your children?
Baylee is so strong minded! She can be tough at times but I just know she will be an amazing strong willed women when she grows up! Asher has an absolute heart of gold and such a gentle soul. They are chalk and cheese and I love it!
I hope one day my children will…
Have the courage to do whatever their heart desires without feeling pressured to follow the norm.
Favourite family friendly holiday destination?
We love the outdoors and our favourite thing to do is to take our camper trailer and explore our beautiful country! Our favourite family friendly camping spot is Moonee Beach in NSW.
Book or talk/podcast recommendation?
Right now i’m reading the Outlander series – I love a good romance novel!
Check out more of Alannah’s Kindred Collection on Instagram.