loves a good childhood photo
recreation. You know, those made-for-social-media pics of grown men in birthday
party hats and diapers, or three 30-something siblings crammed into a bathtub,
or a mom swaddling her balding, bearded son. People can't get enough of them.
Lauren Downes, 31, of Denver, took the trend to a new—and in my opinion, more
touching—level when she recently recreated a 1985 photo of her own mom
"I just recently saw this photo for the first time,"
Downes told me. "My mother is the family record keeper and she came across it,
scanned it and emailed it. It was taken in 1985, and I was just about to turn 1 year old. My older sister was about 3."
Downes, who has two of her own girls now, said that when she first
saw this photo, she was struck by how alike her current family structure was to
her old one: Her daughters are approximately the same ages as her sister and
she were in the snap, and she's currently nursing her baby, age 7 months,
with no plans to stop anytime soon. (Downes and I are members of the same pro-breastfeeding support group on Facebook called Breastfeed, Chicago!, where she posted the photo.)
My mom taught me through example that breastfeeding is normal, natural and beneficial to both mom and baby.
"I thought (recreating) it would
be a nice tribute to my mom, to show her the impact she's had on us and our
appreciation for her dedication to mothering and grandmothering," Downes said.
As luck would have it, Downes had all the right clothes already
in her family's wardrobe, from a green sweatshirt and jeans to a red
long-sleeved onesie. She even had the exact pink overalls that she was
sporting in the 1985 pic. That said, "I thought it looked fairly easy to
recreate, but getting kids to pose at the same time is always trickier than you
think! I'm a bit of a perfectionist so we had to do several takes." (Note that the big sis in each pic has her feet crossed the same way.)
role of photographer was her "very patient husband." As for her 4-year-old daughter (playing the role of her aunt)?
"I didn't have to
teach her how to nurse her doll as she's had plenty of practice with that!"
(FYI that aunt, the original big sister nursing her doll in the '85 pic, is now a doula, La Leche League leader and a mom of three.)
Downes' mom hasn't seen the recreation yet. It will be framed
and given to her for Christmas.
"Growing up, my mom taught
me through example that breastfeeding is normal, natural and beneficial to
both mom and baby," Downes said. "She breastfed my older sister, myself and
my younger brother into toddlerhood. My brother was born when I was 16 so
I had the experience of witnessing pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding at that
The photo has netted nearly 2,000 likes from our private Facebook nursing group. Downes thinks it strikes a chord because unlike today, where nobody
bats an eyelash at the brelfie of the day, breastfeeding photos weren't as common back then.
I love the sense of nostalgia and tradition that's
inherent in her photo recreation, created 30 years later, almost to the day. What a lovely gift, indeed.