Photographer Leah DeVun, a Brooklyn-based artist, gives insight into raising children in the 21st century.
As a mum herself, Leah DeVun took her own experience in raising babies, and created a powerful photo series combating societal beliefs about natural childrearing.
Leah herself believes that community obsession with natural birth, and the stigmas attached to technologically assisted birth and childrearing, have made mothers feel like a technologically assisted or ‘non-natural’ birth means that their bodies have failed them.
Leah suffered some health problems during pregnancy, and, as a result, needed to have an assisted birth. She described her experience as ‘the opposite’ of the ideal birth experience that her friends had described to her.
‘I gave birth in a hospital hooked up to machines under challenging circumstances that were transcendent in their own way, I suppose,’ she told A Child Grows in Brooklyn. ‘But instead of being depressed about the “failure” of my body to give birth “naturally,” I became interested in exploring how we think of pregnant and nursing bodies, and all their entanglements with what we might call the technological and artificial.’
Leah then undertook a project which was designed to alter these attitudes about these assisted births. She wanted to highlight the way that we use simple devices to help us be awesome mums, but which are never talked about.
‘It’s interesting to encounter people’s perceptions about what their bodies are supposed to do. It struck me, how much technological aid it actually takes to assist in these processes that we think of as natural,’ she told Huffington Post.
Her project, titled In the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, features empowering photographs of mums, like you or me, using nipple shields and breast pumps.