What Breastfeeding Mom Jamie Lynne Grumet Really Thinks Of Her TIME Magazine Cover
You’ve all seen the image by now: a hot young mom breastfeeding her 3-year-old boy for all the world to judge. I’m referring, of course, to TIME magazine’s infamous cover, the one that had everyone talking and sparked a whole new controversy that, weeks later, is still very much on everyone’s radar. (Just this week, a TIME spokesperson said the bestselling issue doubled its subscription rates.)
Needless to say, attachment parenting – including the whole idea of extended breastfeeding – is having its moment in the spotlight (despite having been around forever). And TIME cover model-slash-real-life mom Jamie Lynne Grumet has become the face of it all. Grumet has been making her media rounds touting the benefits of AP, including a segment on The Today Show, but I was always interested in hearing her thoughts on the cover itself (i.e., is she happy with the photo? Is it what she expected?).
Today I stumbled up on this interesting Q&A with Grumet on KellyMom. LA-based Grumet was interviewed along with three other moms who appeared in the TIME piece (Dionna Ford of Kansas City, Jessica Cary of Brooklyn and Melinda Larson of Long Island). The women had asked KellyMom for the opportunity to debunk some of the myths surrounding AP and the TIME article itself, and it was wonderful to hear what they had to say.
For starters, Grumet is adamant about people knowing that she had no creative control over the cover. In fact, she herself was surprised to see the final product. As she told KellyMom:
“I have no problem being in a standing position, but the image they captured does not represent the vision and direction of the shoot (which was to convey confidence and contentment). A lot of people don’t realize that many photographs are taken while moving around between positions. The picture TIME chose for the cover was one of these outtakes.”
Grumet went on to say that she prefers the photo featured above – it appears on the TIME website – because it better represents what happened in the room. “My son had fallen asleep nursing at my breast in that shot. (The shoot was short but it was his nap time when we got there.) The shot is lovely and it was actually this or a very similar photo that was going to be the cover image,” she explains. “The shot TIME eventually chose was confirmed as the cover photo shortly before release.”
And she is less than pleased. “Awkward is the only term that really expresses that picture for me. I was there, so I know what they were going for (confidence and contentment), and it was not conveyed in that picture,” Grumet says. “I am not thrilled with the shot of me, but my biggest problem is with my son and his body language in the photo. I see his expression and arm placement as completely disconnected, which made the photo a poor representation of what breastfeeding really is past infancy (connectedness, comfort, and love)…”
Of course, Grumet knew that people would be curious about the cover but she wasn’t expecting all the personal attention that’s come her way. She also thinks the cover caption – a big, bold “ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH?” – is to be blamed in large part for such a “polarizing” response. (I couldn’t agree more!)
When asked what she hoped to achieve by being part of the issue, Grumet offered a kick-ass answer that proves just down-to-earth she really is:
“My hope was to be a catalyst for change in how we view breastfeeding… We (meaning my husband and I) knew normalizing breastfeeding wouldn’t change overnight. However, we needed to take a stand and show there is no shame in parenting our children the way we know is best for our family. I believe the cover alone did not achieve this goal. However, it has made the topic very public and I do believe the AP and breastfeeding communities have really stepped up to have difficult conversations with people about their misconceptions. It has been a community effort, and the brunt of the work has been undertaken by people who did not ask for it. I feel such a sense of community among mothers and fathers stepping up to say no to judgement among any healthy parenting style…”
That last line is what really speaks to me. Grumet’s not judging us, so why are so many of us judging her? Clearly AP isn’t for everyone but hey, nobody’s preaching to anyone here. The point is that we should each be doing what works for us, as individuals and as a family, when it comes to parenting. So long as our children are healthy and happy, does any of this really matter?