An Australian mother who has lived with an ileostomy bag for 11 years, after being diagnosed with debilitating Crohn’s disease, has shared an image of herself breastfeeding while wearing her bag in a bid to ‘change perceptions’.
Krystal Miller was just 15 when doctors diagnosed her with Crohn’s - a digestive disorder that caused her to be so ill that she couldn’t brush her teeth without being sick.
But after surgery to remove six kilos of large and small intestine from her body, she now blogs as the ‘Bag Lady Mama’ on Facebook and proudly shared a photo of herself bearing her bag as she breastfed her baby girl.
‘So much stigma and judgement in one single photo,’ Krystal, who is mum to Lukas and Arabella, captioned her image.
‘To be honest, my bag is the least of my care factor on judgement.
‘I’m at the point of my life living with a bag (11 years) that I stopped caring about other people’s judgement.
‘I like to shock them. Change their perceptions and smack them back into their place!
‘Nothing brings me more joy than to reveal my bag and show them that their perceptions of my reality are all BS.
‘Their faces change from horror, to shock to impressed! Like I’ve opened their eyes just that bit more.’
But the mum – whose aim is to let others with ileostomy bags know that they can live a ‘full life’ - admitted that she had also faced judgement over breastfeeding.
‘My daughter is two! My own judgement of myself... ouch!’ she wrote.
‘Now, I swore I wouldn’t be feeding her when she could ask for it. But.... she’s so damn cute and is very attached to the comfort and nutrition she’s still getting from it.’
The mum went on to clarify that her baby girl is only generally breastfed on weekends.
‘I also want to say that it doesn’t matter how your baby is nourished. Fed is best. There’s nothing else to it. How you feed your baby will be irrelevant when they’re no longer babies!’ she wrote.
This article originally appeared on New Idea.