• Amy Barron Smolinski, MA, ALC, CLC

A Mother's Work: Frau Photography

Mom2Mom Global and Breastfeeding in Combat Boots are all about supporting military parents through their breastfeeding journeys. We love when that support includes military and mil spouse-owned businesses like Frau Photography. Franzis Dunn, owner and military spouse, recently partnered with Mom2Mom KMC in Germany for her series A Mother's Work Never Ends, highlighting breastfeeding working moms in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. (All photos in this post courtesy of Frau Photography)

We are so excited to share the backstory on this wonderful photo project. Mom2Mom KMC Finance Director Ashley Baum told us how this all came about. "Franzis generously donated her time and skills to a photography fundraiser we held in the fall. She contacted me recently with her idea to document the “behind the scenes” realities of working and pumping mothers and their babies and asked if I would share her idea with our group to help her find volunteers for her photos."

Franzis herself became involved with Mom2Mom KMC when she attended a Big Latch On event while still breastfeeding her younger daughter. Born and raised in Germany, she attended university in Heidelberg to become a high school teacher, but after teaching for a short time, she met her husband and moved to the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) area. They have two daughters, Ellen (10), and Philippa (Pippa), age 2. Becoming a mother inspired her in several ways to take up photography. "Since having my first daughter 10 years ago, I’ve taken dozens of pictures of her every week (I’m sure any mom can relate). When I discovered my husband’s DSLR camera a few years ago it really sparked an interest in me to actually study manual settings, but then it took another few years until I started to feel less intimidated not just by comparing my work to others, but also by the camera itself and the editing process."

Franzis has a deep appreciation for other photographers' work, and has also been on the other side of the camera. "I had beautiful pictures taken by a photographer at the Big Latch On when I was still nursing my younger daughter, and pictures of nursing moms just capture the bond between mother and baby in such a beautiful way. I have friends with children my daughter’s age who either work from home or are active duty who pumped during work, and I’ve always admired their dedication and commitment to it.

I was looking for a way to honor these moms, and at the same time share their stories so that other moms can relate to and feel empowered by them, but also see the progress the military has made and hopefully continues to make in terms of supporting pumping mothers." She draws inspiration and energy from showcasing the lives of working moms in an overseas military community.

"Whether the mothers are self-employed or active duty, they are all rockstars. They’re juggling husbands on TDYs or evening classes without complaints, and I think it’s because they’re all in the same boat - being away from home, the military community has become their substitute family and there’s always someone in the same or in a similar situation. It’s a really tight

knit group of people, and the ability to move and adapt to new surroundings every few years is a trait you don’t really find anywhere else." Her favorite part about working with Mom2Mom KMC is the opportunity to meet the parents and babies who are supported in her community, and hear their stories.

As a military spouse herself, Franzis knows the uncertainty that comes with this life. Her husband has one more year left in his current tour, then they will be leaving Germany. But she's committed to continuing her photo series "A Mother's Work Never Ends" through March 2020, culminating in Women's History Month, and she's still looking for participants willing to share their stories about being breastfeeding military families! For more information, visit her website Frau Photography. To see the full photo series "A Mother's Work Never Ends," look on Facebook for Mom2Mom KMC and Frau Photography.

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