motherbreasts3Milk filled party balloons, needles, pins, apron. Rachel Fallon 2014

It wasn’t something ever mentioned in the prenatal classes and I remember weeping in rage when I read how the author casually breastfed her two day old while traipsing with her multitude of other children across an idyllic field. I had pain, comedy porn breasts and a child who couldn’t latch on.

About Rachel Fallon

Rachel Fallon is a visual artist and mother of two sons. Her work explores the nature of defence and protection in the domestic and maternal realms.

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3 Responses to “Mother Breasts”

  1. Helen Sargeant

    I like your playful use of party balloons filled with milk, the oozing out as if a body.
    I had cabbages stuck down my bra when Syd was born to relieve the engorement. Not sure how much relief they gave but I looked very funny. I was astonished at how big my breasts grew as the milk came in. I too remember the pain of my sons latching on and sucking. The power of him sucking on my nipples, it definitely hurt. I think the skin got tougher or I did as the weeks progressed.

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  2. Frances

    I love the tremendous tension in this image. It conveys pent-up feeling, fear of the unknown, uncontrollable experiences rushing in with motherhood, at a time when a woman weeps with the sheer exhaustion and hormonal bloodbath after birth. Are we making it all seem bad? I think it is merely that it is enormously difficult, and perhaps for a generation of women who have tentatively begun to think of themselves as having undreamed of choices and autonomy over their bodies, it is a shock to find that nature has other plans.

    Some military type in an intriguing tv show I watched remarked of the young men in his charge, they are all stupid. That’s why they are so f***ing brave.

    We are not stupid, and we are hypersensitized by the experience of expectant motherhood and birth. The loss of control also encompasses the extraordinary love wrenched out of us at the sight of the child, too. We imprint, we feed, we are animalistic.

    “Expectant motherhood” is a good phrase to sum up the feelings I get from looking at this image.

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  3. Rachel Fallon

    Frances, Helen, thank you so much for your comments. Frances, you raised a point that came up for me when I was creating this piece, ” Are we making it all seem bad?”. On reflection I don’t think so. I believe you are right regarding the previous autonomy we thought we had over our bodies and the shock we have when nature challenges this but I also feel part of this comes from a quite medically led ‘one size fits all’ approach. Women have been doing this for eons so pull up your socks, kind of thing and yes they have but a little compassion wouldn’t go amiss for those whose experiences were different.
    I got the hang of breastfeeding eventually and it was a marvellous bond between me and my son but it might have been helpful for me to feel I was not the only one with difficulties -that some things don’t come naturally to some people and that that’s ok. I find it correlates with how children are told they are good/ not good at art or drawing and that many seem to feel it’s something you can’t learn. I want to rebel against that sort of limited thinking. They are techniques – so yes you can learn drawing and breastfeeding and anything else you want but sometimes you have to breathe deep and laugh at the world as you face it with leaky breasts.

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