These Photos Of Breastfeeding Yogi Carlee Benear Show The Importance Of Self-Care During Motherhood
It's official: This week's Badass Mom Award goes to a Texas-based mom who breastfeeds while doing yoga. Carlee Benear shares photos of her yoga session on Instagram along with inspiring captions like, "I hope you find your peace today" — and as someone who's neither a mom nor a yogi, I can't stop looking at her Instagram account and wondering how she does it all. In an email to Bustle, Benear writes that she hopes her photos help remind people, especially other moms, why self-love is important even when you're responsible for another human being. "A lot of people get so caught up in taking care of others that they forget to love themselves," Benear writes. "I feel that as a busy mother I need to make sure that I am well taken care of for my family's happiness."
A stay-at-home mom, Benear says yoga has helped her family as a whole become a happier unit. Every family finds joy in different activities, she says, so find what works best for you and what means the most to you. "When I see my photos, I am reminded of my strength as a mother, the courage it takes to be a parent and the power of love," writes Benear, 29.
"Yoga helped me with my morning sickness during pregnancy and hopefully sparked a love for it within my daughter. She moved with me for nine months and still enjoys moving with me today," Benear says, calling the human body "art" with infinite capabilities.
When she first became a parent, Benear says one of her biggest fears was having the ability to teach her kids. It's totally natural for parents to experience self-doubt, but that doesn't make it any easier for moms (or dads). "Taking a few minutes here and there or doing yoga as a family reminded me that I am capable of anything," she writes, adding that she plans to do yoga with her kids as long as it remains a family passion.
Benear writes that all of her breastfeeding yoga portraits, shot by photographer Brittany Teel, have become important memories of her connection with her children. Many of her photos feature her baby Maramaylee, although some pictures also capture the playfulness of her two other kids, 5-year-old Milam and 2-year-old Cale. For the Benears, yoga doesn't just help with "me time." It's also a symbolic reminder of how important it is for a family to rely on one another.
"(Yoga) has worked well in teaching my children more about their emotions and how to use them," Benear writes. "It has given them a firm foundation of confidence in their body and their abilities. It's placed great trust within our family, knowing that we can catch each other when we fall."
You can see the rest of Benear's stunning photos (and find inspiration along the way) on Instagram @carleebyoga. You can also check out more of Brittany Teel's work online and connect with her on Instagram @reelteel.