Every mom faces challenges. Adding work on top of that makes for another story entirely.
Mara Martin knows these challenges very well. Last year, the mom made headlines when she walked the runway for Paraiso and Sports Illustrated’s, Miami Swim Week while breastfeeding her 5-month old daughter, Aria.
It wasn’t meant to happen that way but fortunately, it did. It showed the world another example of a mom multitasking so she could perform both mom duties and professional ones.
This moment, in particular, was made special because it pertained to an often controversial topic, breastfeeding in public.
In an Instagram post, Martin wrote. “I’m so grateful to be able to share this message and hopefully normalize breastfeeding and also show others that women CAN DO IT ALL!”
Martin was one of 16 finalists chosen from an open casting call. She was chosen alongside models, Brenna Huckaby and Allyn Rose.
Huckaby is a two-time cancer survivor and Paralympian and Rose had undergone a double mastectomy just years prior.
Martin was definitely in good company, to say the least.
Martin shared that she and Aria were meant to walk the runway together but not in the way it happened. Breastfeeding Aria wasn’t the plan despite what others have claimed.
“When I found out we would be walking the runway, the editor-in-chief of the magazine, MJ Day, asked me if I wanted to do a mommy-and-me type walk for one of the looks. I was excited to get an opportunity to walk her down the runway in a cute little bikini.”
But things were running behind schedule and Aria was becoming fussy after missing her meal. But the show must go on and compromises were made.
When Martin began to breastfeed Aria, it was almost time for them to walk the runway. But she was far from ready.
MJ, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editor, informed her that if she wanted to walk the runway while breastfeeding Aria, she would support her.
MJ recalled the incident with Sports Illustrated:
“I loved the idea to be able to allow Mara to keep nursing and further highlight how incredible and beautiful women are. For me, I nursed two babies myself, so I find it to be one of the most powerful things the female body can do. It was the easiest decision I have had to make in months.”
The choice was a good one. Martin glowed in her two-piece gold swimsuit and little Aria looked adorable in the green bottoms she wore over her diapers.
Aria also wore blue headphones to reduce the noise from the audience.
It might not have gone with her outfit but they seemed to work!
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These two pictures might be my favorite ones of last weekend! There is more than one message that we all can take from these. One being, I hope to normalize breastfeeding because it’s a natural thing women can do for their babies. I think women should be able to feed their babies how they want, when they want and where they want. End of discussion! Another message I hope comes out of this is that women need to be confident in themselves no matter what. There is no one shape, size, age, or ethnicity that defines beauty. We are all beautiful! Look at the final 16 girls that were chosen. All different. All beautiful. Thank you @si_swimsuit and @mj_day for celebrating that year after year. Lastly, never give up on your dreams and goals, even when it may seem like there are many barriers in front of you at times. You are stronger than you think! We can do it all! So my #wcw today is every woman out there!!!! WOMEN CRUSH WEDNESDAY! 1st: @quinn_willoughby 2nd: @theimagesniper #girlpower #siswimsearch #normalizebreastfeeding #bodypositivity
Martin was very much aware that she was sharing the stage with some other very important women. She felt that all the attention she was getting for doing something she and her daughter do every day was a bit… much.
Her post included:
“…to be honest, the real reason I can’t believe it is a headline is because it shouldn’t be a headline!!! My story of being a mother and feeding her while walking is just that. Last night there are far more deserving headlines that our world should see.”
She then listed the names of the other models that she had the honor of sharing the stage with including Huckaby and Rose.
Martin’s actions were a pivotal moment in the runway scene. Not only was she the first to walk a runway while breastfeeding her child, but it’s important that all women, including mothers, be supported and applauded when they achieve great milestones.
Way to go, Mara and Aria!
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