Beth Stebner
September 15, 2015 7:06 am

Give these women a badge of courage!

A photograph showing 10 active Army moms in uniform breastfeeding their newborns has gone viral, being praised for its positive message that new moms in the military can be as strong as their male counterparts.

The picture was taken by Air Force veteran Tara Ruby, who served in the military from 1997 to 2001, as a way to dress up a new lactation room at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas.

She told CNN that when she herself was a new mom in the military, there were no nursing stations, and she’d have to expel breast milk wherever she could – usually, a bathroom or an empty office.
“I think it’s great the Army is supporting active duty mothers,” Ruby told the network.

“Sometimes, you hit a point in your military career where you have to choose between being a soldier and a mother, and a photo like this helps mothers so they don’t have to choose. ”

Fort Bliss Public Affairs and Garrison Command gave the green light for the idea, and 10 active duty Army moms showed up to the shoot.

When Ruby posted the picture to Facebook on Thursday night, she said the image mysteriously disappeared. But when she re-posted it Friday, it began to gain traction, with more than 10,000 shares as of Tuesday morning.

For Ruby, the photo is the next step in normalizing breastfeeding and encouraging new moms to stay in the workplace, if that’s what they want.

“Breastfeeding their babies doesn’t make them less of a soldier, I believe it makes them a better one,” she wrote on Facebook. “Juggling the tasks and expectations of a soldier, plus providing for their own in the best way they possibly can, makes these ladies even stronger for it.”

But there’s still a long way to go.

Women in the Army still do not have a predetermined timeline for when they can be deployed after giving birth, according to the Army Times.

However, the Navy and Marine Corps servicewomen have the option to take up to 18 weeks of leave after a new policy was passed last month.

It’s encouraging to see the strength and bravery of these women on full display, and to see them fighting for better family policies.

(Image via Facebook/Tara Ruby Photography)

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