- Rachael and Tyler Downs were married in the fall of 2019.
- One of Downs' bridesmaids, Allison Hepler, had an infant at the time of the wedding and had to pump her breast milk throughout the wedding day.
- Hepler ended up posing with her breast pump for a picture before the wedding, and it turned out to be both funny and inspiring.
- The bride hopes the photo helps to spread a positive message about breastfeeding. "You shouldn't feel like you have to go hide in a corner to feed your baby," she said.
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Rachael Downs met her husband Tyler in nursing school.
"We're both nurses at the same hospital," Rachael Downs told Insider.
The couple tied the knot on October 25, 2019.
Downs' bridal party included five of her close friends and her daughter.
"We didn't have a huge wedding party," Downs said. "They were just all of the people that are close to us."
The couple's 5-year-old daughter, Spencer, served as the maid of honor.
Downs' friend Allison Hepler was one of her bridesmaids.
Downs and Hepler met their freshman year of high school, so they've been friends for around 15 years.
Hepler moved away from their hometown to go to school, but the duo remained close despite the distance.
"We just always stayed in touch," Downs said of their friendship.
"We tell each other everything before we tell anybody else," Downs said.
Hepler echoed Downs' sentiments, telling Insider they've "practically become sisters."
"I would do anything for her, as I know she would for me," Hepler said.
Hepler had an infant when Downs got married.
Hepler was still pumping for her son at the time of the wedding, so she had to use a breast pump for him multiple times throughout the wedding day.
Downs understood the experience, as she was actually pregnant with her daughter when Hepler got married a few years ago.
When they were taking bridal party photos, Downs' wedding photographer suggested Hepler pose with her breast pump on.
The bridal party knew they wanted to take a silly photo together based on the movie poster for the film "Bridesmaids."
When Downs' photographer, Amber Fletcher, saw Hepler using her pump, she suggested they use the setup for a one-of-a-kind photo.
Hepler just had to push her dress down to use the pump.
The picture turned out better than any of them expected.
"I was so happy with the way that it turned out," Downs said. "We were trying to make it something lighthearted and funny, and it turned out better than I could have thought."
Hepler said she thought the photo was "hilarious."
Downs was grateful the photo could send a positive message about motherhood.
"It was never a question if she could or not," she said of Hepler posing with the pump. But Rachael added that some people are judgemental about breastfeeding and pumping in public.
"There's still a big stigma around it, especially in the South," Downs said. "But you can't help where you happen to be when your baby's hungry or when you need to pump."
Both Downs and Hepler hope the photo will send a positive message about moms feeding their children — no matter what that looks like.
"I believe that as long as a baby is fed, one method is not better than another," Hepler told Insider. "Just because I couldn't breastfeed but I was able to pump doesn't make me a bad mother."
Downs agreed, saying: "Any way that a baby gets fed is a good way to feed a baby. It doesn't matter if it's breastfeeding, pumping, or formula."
"All mamas are rockstars," Hepler said. "That's what I think is important."
And both Downs and Hepler think that when those mothers are feeding their children, they shouldn't be judged for where they do it either.
"You shouldn't feel like you have to go hide in a corner to feed your baby," Downs said.
"You can't stop your life for that," Downs added. "It's part of life. So you gotta take it as it comes."
You can see more of Fletcher's work here.
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