How Breastfeeding Changed This Mom's Sense of Self

"I choose to normalize something that was not normal for me growing up."
profile picture of Jenny Tamas
ByJenny Tamas
Contributing Writer
Updated
Dec 2017
woman breastfeeding with graffiti background
Photo: Jacob Calvo

Jenny Tamas is the force behind the Instagram account Gypsynspice, where she regularly posts stunning photos of herself breastfeeding her one-year-old, Lilly. Here, she explains why sharing those photos is so important, no matter the criticism she may face along the way.

I grew up on the streets. We were dirt poor and after my dad went to jail, it got even worse. When we did live in a house, it was in the projects, and when we didn’t, we were homeless, eating out of dumpsters or sleeping in domestic violence shelters. You know what you never see in those places?

Breastfeeding.

Then we got a new dad and all of that changed. He was our Papa until the day he got arrested for pedophilia. Trust me, I know it’s hard to hear and easy to ignore —predators and children— but it’s my truth. And it taught me my body wasn’t really mine; its purpose was to remain attractive for men. You know what my early years didn’t teach me about the female body?

Breastfeeding.

The remainder of my childhood was spent in foster care. You know what you never see in foster homes either?

Breastfeeding.

I was the first, in my direct community, to change this. ‘Of course I’ll breastfeed,’ I’d think as I clicked on nursing covers to add to my registry, ‘but only because it’s what’s best for my child.’

Then I had my daughter, Lilly, and everything changed. One day I had breasts and the next day those very same breasts produced milk. The breasts I was taught were for ‘him’ now sustained her life. Breastfeeding melted the shame I’d carried with me simply because I was a girl. It gave me back the sense of identity I didn’t even realize I’d lost. It was the very first time I saw my body as my own.

Related Video

Breastfeeding completely exploded the world’s pornographic view I had of myself and all women. It was like going through life unable to smell, only to learn you’ve been holding the most fragrant rose all along.

It’s because of this I don’t see a need to cover up.

It’s because of this I have never been more proud to be a woman.

It’s because of this that I choose to normalize something that was not normal for me growing up.

Photo: Jacob Calvo

Mom's Viral Photo Makes a Case for Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
10/13/2017

Husband Asks Wife to Stop Breastfeeding for an Appalling Reason

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
11/03/2017

The States Where It’s Legal to Breastfeed In Public

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
08/04/2014

Breast Pumping Mom Pranks Her Coworkers

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
07/22/2016

Q&A: Are Nuts Okay to Eat While Breastfeeding?

Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
Pediatrician

Mom Banned From Facebook After Sharing Breastfeeding Article

Anisa Arsenault
Associate Editor
Published
10/06/2017
Advertisement