Meet the Creator of “Tree of Life” Breastfeeding Photos, Read Praise by PicsArt App, Enter BFMT Photo Contest
Last week breastfeeding broke the internet and put a dent in servers worldwide when a mom and photographer decided to create and share an edited photo of a her breastfeeding selfie, also known as a #brelfie, displaying a tree and roots connecting herself and her baby. Tree of life images have been popping in everyone’s newsfeeds ever since. I reached out to Cassandra in California to find out more about it, follow her here on Instagram. I also contacted the #PicsArt app company, which Cassandra used to edit the images on her mobile phone. Read her story below about how the #treeoflife came to be and how she offered her time to edit over 800 images for other mamas who loved her idea. Then read about how PicsArt fully supports the normalizing breastfeeding movement. Finally, head over to Breastfeeding Mama Talk for the chance to enter their photo contest co-hosted by PicsArt.
*Featured on this blog post are also a bunch of willing mamas who wanted to share their photos from our Facebook community.
From Cassandra @keeponboobin: “I currently am nursing my 13 month old daughter and I plan on allowing her to naturally wean. After celebrating my 12 month anniversary of nursing my daughter, I wanted to commemorate with a nursing photo that I could hang on the wall. I had recently learned about how breast milk was considered a living organism and that having fascinated me, I chose to try and incorporate that into our photo. We had a rough beginning when we started nursing so this was something that was truly special to me. I came up with the idea to use Photoshop and create a flower, with the vines going from my breast to her brain. A metaphor for her having “blossomed” into this beautiful child. While nursing her one day, I took a photo of her on my cell phone and decided to play around with it, kinda work out the idea I had come up. I looked into photo editing apps that were similar to Photoshop so I could draft my idea and found the Picsart app. I was able to add a flower to the photo, but didn’t really like the way it looked. That is when I decided to try a tree instead. It gave it a kind of artsy look through the app’s many filters they offer and I just fell in love with it. I had originally intended to take a professional photo with my camera and do this all on the computer, but I really loved what I had created.
I’d never shared a photo of my nursing my daughter before, but I really wanted to share this beautiful photo with someone who I knew would appreciate it. I decided to share it in a breastfeeding support group that I have been a part of since my daughter was born. This amazing group of women have helped me through many tears and trials with my nursing relationship so I knew they would truly understand how special this photo was to me.
A few people had mentioned seeing a similar photo concept before so I definitely don’t want to take all the credit for the ideology of the photo if others have done it before me. However, knowing I started this amazing movement was incredible.
When I shared the photo, I asked if anyone else wanted me to make one for them as well. Next thing I know, there were hundreds of comments and my Facebook inbox was full. Friends of these women were messaging me as well saying they saw the edit I had done for “so and so” and wanted to know if I could do one for them too. I stayed up all night and edited one for every single person who wanted one and still am. After editing all those photos, I had to sleep (it was nearly 5am!). I woke up to these photos everywhere! I saw them in all the mommy groups, they were being shared by blogs, and my Facebook messages were just flooded with people messaging me thanking me and forwarding blog articles. Apparently all of these amazing women shared their photos on social media and it became a trending topic!
I think it is absolutely amazing that all these women from different parts of the world had come together and found the courage to share their photos. I am still getting messages every hour and am continually editing more and more. When someone asks me to make one, I am honored. I have now edited close to 800.
I don’t want to just normalize breastfeeding, I want to naturalize it. I feel like the word normalize means that it wasn’t normal to begin with. I feel that if we can naturalize it, women will feel more comfortable to nurse in public without judgement and get support when needed. I recently read a statistic online that by 6 months of age, only 18% of babies are still breastfed. I can’t help but wonder if breastfeeding had been more naturalized in society, these women would have nursed longer (assuming they did not stop for medical reasons of course). Naturalizing breastfeeding is crucial. Breastfeeding is natural and beneficial and absolutely beautiful. No one should ever be embarrassed by it.
Never would I have thought that this would go viral! I just figured like myself, that these moms would have a beautiful photo to either keep to themselves or print for their home. I have received so many messages from women thanking me for giving them the courage to share their photos. I have even received messages from women saying they nursed in public today for the first time ever without feeling like they were being judged. That is incredible! So did I expect it to go viral? Nope. am I glad it did? Absolutely! Because this week, breastfeeding had a little less of a stigma. And if we as society can just embrace breastfeeding for what it is, a natural way to feed our children, and stop bullying moms for how they have decided to feed their children, the world would be a much better place.”
From Megan Harmon, Director of Content @PicsArt: “Art has always been used as a medium to help advance causes. And we’re excited PicsArt is here to help these mamas advance theirs. We 100% support this movement and the women behind it.
Our Sr. Social Media Manager caught onto the trend Friday. We sent out a note of support, and followed up Saturday with a free Tree Of Life sticker pack, and a tutorial to help all of the curious mamas who wanted to create their own.
More than half a million people have posted photos of this trend on a variety of social channels!
The only new thing we did was create a free Tree Of Life sticker pack to make it easier for everyone to create!
We never had an issue with our server. But we are thrilled, obviously, that so many women are finding the tools they need to share these edits.
We really love that the Normalize Breastfeeding movement is about creating imagery that promotes the normalcy of infant feeding. And we’re glad the PicsArt app makes it easy for mamas to create this imagery. We couldn’t be happier for the women who are now able to share their special moments in such a beautifully artistic, yet simple-to-do, way.
We have had many co-workers who have breastfed. Especially our counterparts in our Armenia office. However, I am early in my pregnancy, and I feel very thankful that all of these amazing women are paving the way for a future where breastfeeding is normalized.”
From Kristy @bfmamatalk: Tree of Life photo contest is going to be held on Instagram. You must follow @picsart & @bfmamatalk to enter .. The winner will get their Tree of life photo on a 16 X 16 canvas print. mamas need to upload a photo to instagram tagging @PicsArt & @bfmamatalk and use the hashtags #MadeWithPicsArt #BrelfieContest. They need to be following both of us on IG to win. We will randomly tag a winner. It will run for about 5 days. Also, their profiles need to be public so we can see their pics. Check it out for the official rules, here.