Schamica Stevenson, 34, from Michigan, US, was severely burned in a house fire when she was just two years old. When she became pregnant at 20, she worried about how her scars might affect her changing body.
“I am just so blessed that my breasts didn’t get any damage to them and I am able to nurse my little Prince,” Stevenson shared on the Black Women Do Breastfeed Facebook page.
Photographer Ivette Ivens shared the photo of Stevenson above calling her a “Mother of two. Fire survivor. Warrior. Breastfeeder.”
“The fire inside burned stronger than her desire to succumb to the names, walls and judgements brought against her,” wrote Ivens.
“Overcoming obstacles was a chapter in her childhood. Defying the odds became her story.”
Stevenson told Kidspot why she had decided to share her story publicly.
“I want to give others hope and help them not give up like I did the first time,” she said.
Stevenson first became pregnant when she was 20 and after years of undergoing numerous skin graft surgeries she was nervous about the impact having a baby would have on her body.
“I was worried about whether my body could carry a baby, and if the scars on my stomach would stretch,” she said.
But Stevenson’s pregnancy went smoothly and she gave birth to a baby girl who she called Paris. As a new mum she decided not to breastfeed.
“I was young and I didn’t have the patience to persevere when she wasn’t latching,“ she explains.
So when 14 years later Stevenson gave birth to her second child on 4 March - a boy who she called Josiah - she was determined to give breastfeeding a go.
“The lactation nurse warned me that ‘this is not going to feel good’ as she tugged and pulled at my breasts,” Stevenson told Popsugar.
“It killed, but I was determined to have that breastfeeding bond with my son.”
At first Stevenson’s milk supply was low, but she stuck with it and is now producing more than enough milk and the pain she once experienced is gone.
“I wanted to share my story to help others not give up like I did when I was 20 years old,” she said.
“I don’t want people to see me and feel sorry for me, but instead feel inspired to overcome their own flaws and obstacles.”