The image of one mother breastfeeding her first daughter while giving birth to her second is just plain incredible.
Need more proof that moms are the ultimate multitaskers? Look no further.
Kate Neal, a photographer and mother of two, is the latest mother to go viral for her supermom-level skills: Neal recently welcomed her second child, and a shot from her delivery is spreading like wildfire. In it, Neal is sitting up in bed poised to deliver—and she's also breastfeeding her elder child.
For Neal, this is just another snapshot of her reality as a mother of two...but the image, which was taken by photographer Maegan Dougherty also speaks volumes about what it really means to be a mother. It's about putting your child first no matter what else is going on, or how overwhelmed you might be feeling.
"My experience nursing Rowan (my oldest) shortly before I went into active labor was definitely part of our routine," Neal told Fit Pregnancy. "She is two so we only nurse [once or twice] a day and it is primarily for comfort. I knew that she would want to nurse right when she saw me since I had been away overnight/all morning and I was happy to provide that comfort to her in a hopeful exchange of progressing the labor along. It absolutely worked because shortly after she left I went into active labor and our second daughter, Sloane, was born two hours later! It was a special moment, but again, completely natural for both of us. Rowan has already started to self wean a little since her sister has arrived, which has been bittersweet. I know many women that successfully tandem nurse and I planned on doing the same if both kids and myself were healthy and comfortable doing so, but Rowan has taken it upon herself to practice sharing with her sister which is also really sweet."
But while Neal realizes how sweet and special the moment is, the mom definitely didn't expect the photo to catch on the way it has. "The reaction to this photo has been overwhelmingly positive, but I have to say I am definitely surprised—almost shocked—at how much attention it has received," she said.
For this mom, the photo doesn't just tell a sweet story or speak to the nature of motherhood—it's also about normalizing breastfeeding and natural childbirth.
"Of course there are always negative and judgmental comments that come along with something like this, but breastfeeding is and always will be natural," she explained. "I am happy to help normalize this a little more, but more importantly open up a conversation for women and their providers about what they desire for their birth plan. It was actually pretty difficult to find a provider that would allow and support not only a natural birth, but also allowing so many people to be present for it. My midwife, Lonnie Morris, and her team at The Childbirth & Women's Wellness Center were completely open to this and our experience was as amazing as I had hoped."
Yes, you read that right—this mama had a natural childbirth and still managed to nourish her baby in the midst of it all. Consider her our new mommy hero.