Being a bridesmaid is an honor and all, but it can also be a drag. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, and if you have a nursing baby at home you also have to figure out how to pump or nurse with your formal dress and jam-packed wedding day schedule.
So, it’s no wonder that Allison Hepler found herself trying to pump between photo sessions at her friend’s wedding. She had planned to pump while the photographer took pictures of the bride and groom, but when they finished early and Hepler was still pumping, she hopped into the pictures, pump in hand.
Photographer Amber Fletcher summed up the exchange on Instagram:
“It’s time for the bridesmaid photos!”
“I’m still pumping”
The resulting photo shows Hepler hooked up to her pump, leaning on the shoulder of bride Rachael Downs, her face reflecting the monotony of pumping yet again.
The photo was actually an idea that Downs and Fletcher had, when they realized that Hepler wasn’t quite ready for the bridesmaids photos to start.
“We wanted to do a Bridesmaids-style shot and were trying to think of something funny to do,” Downs told POPSUGAR. “Half of us in the photo are moms who have pumped or breastfed and all of us are supportive of that, so it was just natural and funny that we could do it while taking photos!”
When Fletcher floated the idea that Hepler could hill two birds with one stone — pumping and taking pictures — Hepler was game.
“I thought she was crazy but I’m all for a funny picture. I told her I didn’t mind doing it since I’m all for normalizing breastfeeding and exclusively pumping,” she said.
Since the photos were done before the ceremony, some guests even got a sneak-peek of the soon-to-be viral shot.
“I walked out like that while some people were already arriving for the wedding!” Hepler said.
Being a bridesmaid with a baby can be trying, but Hepler was comfortable stepping up for Downs, who has been a friend for 15 years.
“Rachael has always been supportive and knew exactly what I needed as she had already been down that road,” she said.
Downs — who has a 5-year-old — loved the interest that an unexpected wedding photo has garnered.
“It’s just proof that moms gotta do what moms gotta do! Plus, anything that normalizes feeding babies is awesome to me,” she said.
Fletcher shared on Facebook that it’s been amazing to see the attention that the photo has gotten. The original post was shared 3,500 times, and led to other moms posting their own photos of nursing or pumping at a wedding.
“I love this,” one poster named Sarah Bruner wrote on Facebook. “Support for the bride by being present and support for the bridesmaid by not making a fuss over her having to pump. I wish I had friends like these. Women building women up and not being selfish. LOVE IT!”
Fletched has had fun watching how the photo made people connect.
“This photo has really blown up over the last few days reaching over 1,000,000 people which has been incredible to see,” she wrote on Facebook. “Not because it’s something I took as much as reading through all of the comments about people who relate to the photo with breast feeding and pumping!”
The photo is exactly what you want from a wedding picture — one that’s unique to your day but resonates with anyone who sees it.
“This day was so much fun all around and glad to see how much love they have all been given in the comments of the original photo for how they reacted toward having to pump at a wedding,” Fletcher wrote.