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If These 10 Photos Bother You, This Photographer Also Shares Stories To Help You Relax. It's Normal!

Meet Vanessa Simmons, photographer and mom, here with her son and third child. For her, breastfeeding was a "long road." She's sharing her images and her story in order to make the world a more welcoming, supportive place for all moms. She's created a media campaign to help the world see the beauty — and the normalcy — of nursing moms.

If These 10 Photos Bother You, This Photographer Also Shares Stories To Help You Relax. It's Normal!


Vanessa shares her own story as well as those of other mothers as a way to normalize breastfeeding so more of us become used to seeing it as the wonderful, healthy, normal part of motherhood it is.

The campaign got started when she had a quiet photo session with this friend. Posted on Facebook, her images stirred up a lot of discussion, and things took off from there. Now she says her own photos have taken a backseat because of the many "amazing" photos and stories shared by breastfeeding women.

Diversity is a key part of her campaign to get people used to seeing all kinds of women breastfeeding and in all kinds of places. Rates of breastfeeding are climbing, but the CDC reports much lower rates among black women. (2008 data show about 59% of black mothers begin breastfeeding their babies, compared with 75% of whites and about 80% of Hispanics.)

Anyone who says breastfeeding is easy probably hasn’t done it. It may be the most natural activity there is, but breastfeeding is sensitive to everything, from the amount of skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby in the baby's first hour to the shape of a baby’s mouth to the level of support from a partner to sleeping needs of the mother to what kind of work a mother does. Each situation is unique, and as Vanessa says, it's a journey that benefits from being shared.

The goal of the campaign is "friendly lactivism," helping mothers help themselves by sharing information and also informing the rest of the world what breastfeeding looks like.

Simmons has plans to tour places where fewer women breastfeed, taking photographs and encouraging more women, as well as people in the communities they live in, to feel comfortable seeing breastfeeding, and doing it, even in public spaces.

Vanessa Simmons wants everyone to know that breastfeeding is challenging, incredibly rewarding for babies and mothers, and, above all, normal.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

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In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Of the millions of Americans breathing a sigh of relief with the ushering in of a new president, one man has a particularly personal and professional reason to exhale.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has spent a good portion of his long, respected career preparing for a pandemic, and unfortunately, the worst one in 100 years hit under the worst possible administration. As part of Trump's Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci did what he could to advise the president and share information with the public, but it's been clear for months that the job was made infinitely more difficult than it should have been by anti-science forces within the administration.

To his credit, Dr. Fauci remained politically neutral through it all this past year, totally in keeping with his consistently non-partisan, apolitical approach to his job. Even when the president badmouthed him, blocked him from testifying before the House, and kept him away from press briefings, Fauci took the high road, always keeping his commentary focused on the virus and refusing to step into the political fray.

But that doesn't mean working under those conditions wasn't occasionally insulting, frequently embarrassing, and endlessly frustrating.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.