A post on the Country Fire Authority (CFA) Facebook page is inspiring mums to join the service.
The post was aimed at demonstrating the diversity of the individuals that participate in the service in the lead up to Australia Day. It has garnered a huge reaction, receiving more than 33,315 likes, 3,133 shares and 1, 342 comments – with numbers rapidly climbing.
The photo featuring Angela Joy breastfeeding her baby at a community opening of a nearby fire station, was taken by her husband. The couple are both members of the Tallygaroopna station in northern Victoria.
“A couple of days ago there was a request from the CFA for pictures that represented Australia,” Ms Joy told the ABC. “While this wasn’t the iconic koala or gum tree firefighter image, I sent it in. To me it represented how grateful I am to be a firefighter in the CFA in a more mature Australia working for such a diverse organisation.”
A mum of four children under 10, Angela said the photo was not intended to be an attempt to help normalise breastfeeding. It was however, in her opinion a bonus if it did help achieve this.
“One of the comments I saw was a young mum contemplating volunteering with the CFA but wasn’t sure if they’d be supportive,” Ms Joy said. “But after seeing my photo she said she was definitely going to volunteer. “That makes any negativity associated with this worth it as this mum will go out and save someone’s house one day.”
In response to the post, various Mums have expressed their desire to join the brigade:
“Wow. I am so pleased to see this picture. I am halfway through my pregnancy, and this will be me next fire season here at home. People thought I was nuts. I can’t be anymore proud of this beautiful woman!!!!” one woman wrote. “This is brilliant! I’ve been thinking of joining the CFA but wasn’t sure if it would affect breastfeeding! Well now I know. Thank you CFA!” wrote another.
CFA chief executive Lucinda Nolan said the online reaction had been hugely positive.
“It’s an image not usually associated with firefighting so we wanted to use it as a way to breakdown people’s perception of our workforce and what our organisation stands for today,” she said. “The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, which is what we expected.”
However, there are some negative comments regarding the post, including, “I’m a mother of twins who breastfeed both too but I’m so bloody over all these women trying to prove some point that it should be allowed to flop your boob out and do it anywhere.”