Mom Turns Her Breastfeeding Journey into Incredible Artwork

Jeanne Sager | Apr 13, 2017 Baby

momisdrawing instagram
momisdrawing/Instagram

Artist Joy Hwang always imagined breastfeeding would come to her naturally and magically. Instead, her nursing experience started off in the opposite way: It was a struggle. She ate her placenta; she drank teas meant to spur milk production; she nursed and she pumped, and she nursed and she pumped. It was only fitting that her first drawing after becoming a mom was of herself, half asleep with a breast pump connected to her chest.

It was the beginning of a long series of images breastfeeding moms have been "loving" and sharing all over Instagram, where Hwang is better known as Mom Is Drawing, the artist who regularly shares hand-drawn reflections on her life as the mother of a toddler named Auri.

Hwang, who hails from Southern California, has designed everything from on-air graphics for MTV to work for museum walls, but since Auri's birth, she's focused mostly on children's illustrations. Her drawings cover a range of motherhood moments, but it's her breastfeeding journey that started it all.

  • She Works Out

    1

    "I remember my first drawing as a new mom was a self-portrait of me pumping and falling asleep in my chair," Hwang tells CafeMom. "It was one of the most difficult activities I had endured, without sleeping more than two to three hours for months."

  • Fly Me to the Moon

    2

    "I remember my 4 a.m. pumping to be the hardest," Hwang says, "but what carried me through is my child, and the thought of millions of moms who are also sleepless, in their haze, pumping and caring for their babies with the sheer power of love."

  • Self-Portrait

    3

    That's where Hwang's Instagram account, Mom Is Drawing, was born -- as a way for Hwang to connect with other parents and share her story.

    More from CafeMom: 9 Gorgeous Photos of Moms Breastfeeding Beyond 12 Months

  • Somebody's Sleeping

    4

    "I wanted to make art that celebrates the very private and empowering moments to show my appreciation for all the things that parents do," she says. "I feel so fortunate to live in the age where we have platforms to connect with people globally, and I really enjoy and appreciate all the comments and responses! I used to feel so alone caught up in my mundane chores with baby, but connecting with other parents and friends has been my biggest reward."

  • Sick Mama

    5

    Hwang labeled this one, "Here is to you mamas and papas who can't take sick days off."

  • Milk and Cookies

    6

    "We as moms do anything to keep our baby alive, and I wanted to challenge the taboo image of breastfeeding in public or in a social context through my drawings and comics," Hwang says.

    More from CafeMom: 14 Amazing Photos of Moms Breastfeeding Wherever They Want

  • Mmmmusic

    7

    "It's a small gesture," Hwang says. "But I was happy to connect with other moms who felt validated for opening this conversation through illustration -- about breastfeeding, pumping at night, or pumping at work."

  • Mama Love

    8

    "One of the stand-out moments in [my] social media reactions was when I had a comment from a mom who had recently lost her child, but she was pumping and donating her milk to honor her lost baby and raising money for cuddle cots for the hospital who couldn't facilitate her when her newborn died," Hwang says. "She inspired me to visit drawings about miscarriage. I know that it's not often brought up in parenthood because the loss is unbearable, but so many people I love dearly have also experienced this. It's a valid and significant moment in [our] lives as parents, no matter how brief it was."

  • Noisy Nursing

    9
    Hwang had a lot of anxiety during pregnancy, and as a new mom, she says she was mentally, physically, and emotionally wrecked. 
  • Pumping Away

    10
    "I felt as if I had lost my identity in all shapes and forms," Hwang recalls. "That's when I started drawing to find myself again, and to find my community/tribe."
     
  • The Joys of Co-Sleeping

    11

    Hwang's drawings range from the silly to the sweet to the empowering and back again.

    More from CafeMom: Dads Share Their Brutally Honest Feelings About Breastfeeding

  • Keep on Pumping

    12

    "This drawing is for my fellow mamas who power through the day at work with love and commitment for their families," Hwang says. "Our hearts are connected to our babies, and our bodies remind us to bring love-food home."

  • Dozing Off

    13

    Hwang says this image is her early motherhood days in a nutshell.

  • A Mom's Work Is Never Done

    14

    This one is "just a mom multitasking, and a hungry baby having a snack," Hwang says. 

  • On an Adventure

    15

    Hwang draws inspiration from Auri, who "helps me find small joys in all things while testing me through roller coasters."

  • That's the Way the Story Goes

    16

    For more from Mom Is Drawing, check out Hwang on Instagram, where she shares her "love letters" to moms and dads everywhere. 

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