Breastfeeding mum reveals online abuse as emotive shot of her nursing two babies at once goes viral


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With one little baby on each breast, Kassondra Coxson's photo shoot has maternal love shining from every image.

Breastfeeding mum reveals online abuse as emotive shot of her nursing two babies at once goes viral

Photographer Jen Pritchett worked with the new mum to create mementos of her motherhood.

The in/out snaps feature mum Kassondra with baby boy Kensington inside her tummy and then on her breast - while another shows Kassondra's daughter Madeleine feeding alongside her brother.

But the snapper has revealed that after she shared the touching pictures online she was targeted with abuse.

When Jen, who is based in Orlando, Florida, posted the pictures, she wrote that she was celebrating a plus size "woman of colour".

"I have never been more nervous about posting one of my photos as I am in this moment and it's because this one means so so much to me," Jen began.

For her part, Kassondra, who blogs at Motherhood Community, is thrilled with the images. She says that she is keen to help women have the courage to breastfeed their own babies.

She told "Too many parents struggle to establish a nursing relationship because they don't have the support the need and/or they don't get to see other nursing parents who look like them.

"I post 'brelfies' to be that support and I realised we could take it a step further with this series."

Kassondra Coxson poses for Jen PritchettKassondra with babies Madeleine and Kensington nursing
The image, which shows Kassondra in a bath of milk, used the skin colours of Kassondra and her babies to create a striking tableau.

"The whole milk bath series with Kassondra and her two beautiful children has been an experience I will never forget," Jen went on.

"Kassondra is such an inspiration to me. Her body-positive self love is infectious. She's so driven to help normalise full-term breastfeeding while also letting the world know that Black Women Do Breastfeed."

On the comment, she tagged the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page, and mentioned the fact that black women are statistically less likely to breastfeed, hence celebrating it with Kassondra's image.

There were many who loved the pictures: "That beautiful glow of mama-love just radiates from this picture," said one.

Another added: "I think it's awesome that she's confident and her face and breastfeeding are beautiful."

After the emotive pictures gained almost 7,000 reactions, though, Jen saw a darker heart of the online community, with comments ranging from racial to fat-shaming and even accusing her of using Kassondra's shots in some way for her own promotion.

Kassondra Coxson poses for Jen PritchettKassondra was snapped by Jen Pritchett during the water birth of Kensington
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In answer, Jen posted: "I post one picture featuring a plus-size WOC [woman of colour] who has courageously put herself out there to help normalise breastfeeding and raise awareness for black women breastfeed and I am quickly reduced to tears by the racist comments I've had to police tonight."

Although the family and children photographer was stunned by the negative reactions, they were definitely in the minority and she says that she will not let internet trolling upset her.

Kassondra said she believes that maternity pictures are a beautiful way to commemorate a wonderful and exciting time for a family.

She revealed to "I especially love the in and out photos that juxtapose the pregnant belly and newborn baby.

"I imagined an image of myself laying nearly naked but realised not only would my belly be emphasised, all my rolls and flaws would be exposed. It just reminded me that I don't look like the women in those beautiful pictures.

"Then I remembered seeing a milk bath photo and thought that would allow me to have a belly shoot without emphasising the things that I'm self-conscious about. While we were shooting my daughter asked to nurse."

Kassondra Coxson poses for Jen PritchettKassondra and Jen worked together on the labour images and again with the breastfeeding shoot
As for the controversy, Kassondra says it wouldn't out her off the project: "I am extremely passionate about normalizing breastfeeding in general and in the black community specifically.

"My daughter and I had many difficulties establishing our breastfeeding relationship and were only able to overcome our obstacles because of amazing support.

"Too many people struggle because they don't have that support and they don't see people who look like them breastfeeding.

"This is why I post 'brelfies' on Facebook all the time and I realised we could take the in and out shoot even further by including nursing pictures in both sessions.

"It was amazingly empowering to see the end result and even more so to see the reaction people are having."

Writing on her blog following the controversy, Jennifer said that, in posting the images: "I had unwittingly fed the trolls.

"Apparently a plus size woman of color tandem breastfeeding her son, a white-presenting multi-racial person of color, and her daughter, a two-year-old who will self wean when she’s ready (full term breastfeeding), in a bath of cow-based powdered milk will attract the racists, vegans, fat-shamers and a noteworthy faction of people generally perplexed by genetics."

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