University's inspiring photo of a breastfeeding graduate goes viral

Nov 4, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. ET
Image: Lawrence/E+/Getty Images

Remember how tough college was? Picture cramming during exams week while breastfeeding a newborn all night long. Mom of two Jacci Sharkey did just that, and her unique graduation photo is cause for celebration.

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24-year-old Sharkey's son was just 6 weeks old when she graduated last month. She sent University of the Sunshine Coast the photo hoping it would encourage other moms to continue with their education. Sharkey had both of her sons while studying at the university and graduated with a business degree in human resources management and marketing.

In the beautiful photo, Sharkey has her graduation gown hiked up as she feeds her tiny son privately before the ceremony. While the usual naysayers have come out to criticize breastfeeding in public and photos of breastfeeding, the response to Sharkey's photo has been overwhelmingly positive. The post has received over 140,000 likes.

This isn't the first time a student mom has shared a breastfeeding graduation photo. This summer, 25-year-old Karlesha Thurman also shared a photo nursing in a cap and gown. Both important photos represent the tenacity of women who juggle motherhood and higher education — and the natural beauty of breastfeeding.

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