The Parlour website has now gone live, with it's first podcast on the subject of the magic of motherhood by Reena Bondada. This short interview looks at the wider benefits of breastfeeding: not only for nutritional, but also emotional and mental well being for a child. Reena elected not to be photographed in the act of breastfeeding. Her insight and passion is difficult to resist.
Podcasts will regularly appear on the Parlour site, along with portraits of breastfeeding mothers, written interviews and a blog. Podcasts are more commonly shared online
than papers as they can be easily consumed on smartphones. Starting
with social media, we can penetrate many of the forums used by mothers
who may otherwise be immune to traditional Health based media formats
such as leaflets, etc. Bypassing the traditional routes and reaching
women where they are congregating online we can have more success in
overturning women’s unconscious preconceptions about breastfeeding.
The Parlour is an experimental collaboration designed to permanently break the cultural stigma surrounding
breastfeeding. Growing out of ideas formed in the inception of my photography project, Holding Time
, it is an organisation set up to create a space for
women to comfortably discuss breastfeeding. By combining a broad program
of documentation and discussion through web streamed talks, social
media and a body of shared images it is a political intervention, both
real and virtual.
Bethania and Luna, 2016
Working together with Sociologist, Lucila Newell I hope The Parlour will open up debate around breastfeeding from the rather polarised discussions around nutrition and public displays of breastfeeding into the deeper ideas of motherhood and time, breastfeeding as a social practice, motherhood as conscious activism. Ultimately our aim is to
produce a large body of observation, photography, video discussion and
conversation online. This is a short-term project designed to experiment
and study outcomes for a long-term solution.
There are approximately sixty newborn babies born at Sussex County
hospital each week. Of these, a high proportion will be new mothers with
no experience or understanding of breastfeeding.
Much funding for Health Visitor run baby groups and drop ins throughout
the city has been cut in the past two years due to budget constraints.
This has lead to increasing social isolation of new mothers. There is a
wide disparity between the emphasis on breastfeeding in culture and the
support for mothers attempting to breastfeed for the first time. Young
mothers in particular may not have ever encountered another
breastfeeding mother, given that the last generation was largely
encouraged to bottle-feed.
You can visit The Parlour at www.the-parlour.org