Photo of mom breastfeeding before graduation goes viral

Photo of Mom Breastfeeding Before Graduation Goes Viral
Photo of Mom Breastfeeding Before Graduation Goes Viral

Most of us want to be proud of our alma maters, but a recent photo has taken school spirit to a whole new level.

Jacci Sharkey is a 24-year-old mom of two, and sent her school, the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia this photo, depicting her in her cap-and-gown breastfeeding her 6-week-old son just before her graduation ceremony.

The university, known as USC, posted the photo and Jacci's message to the school on both Facebook and Twitter. "Just wanted to share a photo from the most recent graduation that I am proud of. I'm extremely proud that with the support of the Uni, during my degree I was able to have 2 babies and still finish my degree. Thanks USC!"

In just 24 hours, the post went viral on Facebook, receiving "100,000 likes, 3,400 comments and 2,700 shares," according to ABC Australia.

The hubbub mirrors a similar post from this summer, when new mom Karlesha Thurman submitted a photo breastfeeding her then 4-month-old daughter in her cap and gown during her graduation from California State University Long Beach.

Thurman posted that photo -- which was later shared -- to the Facebook group "Black Women Do Breastfeed" in support of a mom who felt disheartened by stares when breastfeeding in public.

Breastfeeding in public or posting photos of breastfeeding to social media have become controversial topics as modern moms blend the domestic sphere with the public one.

In August Time even gathered "The Top 16 Breastfeeding Controversies," citing everything from customer complaints in Starbucks to magazine covers and even a kerfuffle between Sarah Palin and First Lady Michelle Obama in 2011.

Because it so plainly depicts a mother breastfeeding, Jacci Sharkey's recent photo has been praised by supporters of the breastfeeding movement.

Mother & Baby Australia called the picture "pro breastfeeding and pro women," hashtagging Jacci's name and the phrase "normalise breast feeding." Still, some Facebook users think the photo is a little much, saying she could have made the point (being a mom and graduating) without posting a picture of her breastfeeding. One commenter said, "Is her breastfeeding part of her degree ? Did she graduate from breastfeeding ? Was it necessary to be in cap and gown to advertise that the uni allowed her to have 2 children?"

The American nonprofit organization Best for Babes dubbed Sharkey "inspiring," calling for a shoutout from other moms juggling both school work and motherhood.

But interestingly, Sharkey wasn't trying to make a point about breastfeeding.

It was "just the fact that I'm a mum, it's not I'm a breastfeeding mum, just I'm a mum," she told ABC Australia. "It was really a message of thanks and that other mums can do it as well."

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