As a mother who is nursing her third child—in the general sense, but also, right this very second as I type this—I want to take a second and thank Gap for including a beautiful portrait of a breastfeeding mother in their latest GapBody campaign. I have praised Target before, for being a safe haven for me and my kids—on days we need to buy all the things in one place and on boring days when we count ‘going to Target’ as an activity. Now, it's Gap’s turn.

Thank you, Gap, for recognizing breastfeeding moms.

Something about seeing this photo stopped me right in my Instagram-scrolling tracks the other night. There I was, breastfeeding my 5-month-old daughter, up through the night again—doing something totally normal for us and something that’s not very glamorous at all. And then I saw this gorgeous woman and baby—in a mainstream ad—doing the same thing. Feeding her child.

Something about this validated me. I felt seen. Acknowledged. Empowered.

Something that fits into my schedule and routine as naturally as if it were like brushing my teeth in the morning—has also sparked such heated debates or has brought shame from people who don’t want to see or hear about breastfeeding. But, Gap? Gap is doing their part to help normalize breastfeeding in our culture, and quite honestly, I ? am ? here ? for ? it.

So for all the times I felt nervous butterflies in my stomach and sweat forming on my brow as I looked around, unsure if anyone was going to stare at me while nursing my baby in a restaurant or store or park bench because she had to eat and I didn’t want her to be hungry or scream at me, or scramble to find a more secluded place to feed her—thank you, Gap.

For all the trolls who have reported mine and other women’s breastfeeding photos on Instagram or Facebook for being “inappropriate” when they are anything but―thank you, Gap.

For all the times I left the room of a party or social gathering because my baby needed to eat and I felt like I would make people uncomfortable if I nursed her in front of them, so I opted to prioritize their comfort level over mine—thank you, Gap.

For all the (millions?) of times my baby pulled down at my shirt to get milk NOW, in public and at home, so I stopped whatever I was doing to feed her because I’ve typically fed on demand—thank you, Gap.

For all the late, tired nights I’ve spent nursing my baby to comfort her, soothe her, get her back to sleep because that’s the way that worked best for us—thank you, Gap.

For all the early mornings when I brought my baby into bed with me to catch the sunlight through the crack in the window shade as she snuck in her morning feed and I caught up on my morning (social media) feeds—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I forgot to wear a ‘better,’ more accommodating shirt to nurse in as we were out and about and she needed to eat and I was trying to figure out the best way to get my breast out and to her mouth and feeling like I was basically an acrobat in the circus—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I was a bridesmaid in a wedding and had to think about how I was going to get my boobs out of the dress I was wearing to feed my baby and when exactly I was going to take a half hour break to do these sometimes long nursing sessions (wedding timelines, people!)—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I questioned if I was even doing this correctly. I had no clue in the beginning. For all the mamas whose breastfeeding journey didn’t work out the way they hoped. For the heartbreak and pain mothers go through to feed their babies—any way they can, or any way they need to, to nourish their babies―thank you, Gap. ?

For all the times I woke up with full, sore breasts or leaks on my nursing tank—or (yikes!) the many times I leaked publicly through my shirt and didn’t feel very beautiful or glamorous at ALL—thank you, Gap.

For all the times my nipples were cracked, or my letdowns hurt or when I was pregnant and still nursing my 16-month-old and had an aversion to nursing but powered through for two more months because I didn’t really know what to do or how to wean her—thank you, Gap.

For all the times I wished my breasts were perky like they used to be and all the times I’ve looked down on my deflated, ‘flat’ nursing boobs when I should have been celebrating all of the nourishment they have given my children—thank you, Gap.

Thank you for acknowledging that something I and millions of other women and babies do every single day, is beautiful. That this is normal and pretty darn amazing. That it may be as natural to us as remembering to feed ourselves breakfast, or as regular and everyday as putting our shoes on before we leave the house—but it is awesome and worth celebrating.

Thank you, Gap, for recognizing us.

For showing something that’s so ‘normal’ to us that we sometimes forget how special it is.

And for making us feel like the beautiful, breastfeeding queens that we are. ?