In a world where women who breastfeed are imprisoned in toilet stalls and dark, storage cupboards, all praise Erin White and her movement to photograph breastfeeding mothers, exposed and beautiful, framed within the awesome panaroma of nature.

The Women in the Wild photographic collection allows the mothers to be seen as they wish, exposing their post-pregnancy bodies, feeding their babies, and, above all, presented with a dewy glow of love for their children. The backdrop of mountains, hills and streams only emphasizes this concept: a romance with motherhood.

The photos are calm and serene, a stark difference from the frenzied life of a mother. As romanticized images, they are still more true to the nature of motherhood than the idea that women “can have it all”: perfect bodies, perfect relationships, perfect work-life balance.

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True, this isn’t breastfeeding as nature intended. But, my word, it is a beautiful thing to behold.

Some would argue that breastfeeding is normalized. That in fact, a post like this – or a project like Women in the Wild – shows that breastfeeding is not just accepted but accepted as beautiful. The reality is that many people still think a woman breastfeeding in public is offensive or even disgusting. Photographs like this take mothers out of the bathrooms and closets and into the light of day.

Because Women in the Wild is a global movement, the photographers identify something universal to motherhood. White says, “I think our image addresses two directly correlated issues every new mom faces with each pregnancy: body image and public perception about how she chooses to feed. Many research studies suggest that women who are preoccupied or less satisfied with their body shape are less likely to breastfeed, and more likely to suffer depressive symptoms or psychological distress.”

Of the shoot, White explained, “Everyone in this image was asked to wear what they wanted to for the photo; I am so happy that so many did choose to wear only their undies. It gives women everywhere a clear picture of a variety of real looking women of all shapes, sizes, and ages to see–and hopefully, identify with.”

The bravery in these photos comes not from the dramatic backgrounds or the current of the river the women stand in, but in the revealing of their true bodies. Despite the weight of toddlers, the visible signs of c-section, the stretch marks or the other signs of motherhood on display here — these women stand tall, graceful and self-assured. More than that, they look proud and in love with motherhood and their babies.

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