Breastfeeding graduation photo from Sunshine Coast university goes viral on Facebook
A photograph of a Queensland woman breastfeeding her young son at her university graduation has gone viral on social media.Maroochy River mother Jacci Sharkey was snapped by her sister-in-law as she breastfed son Alek, then six weeks old, at her graduation ceremony from the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) in early October.
The image, and a message of thanks from the 24-year-old, was posted from USC's Facebook page on Monday afternoon.
In the past 24 hours it earned more than 100,000 likes, 3,400 comments and 2,700 shares.
Ms Sharkey said the social media reaction stunned her.
"I never expected it to go crazy. I thought I'd be really happy if it got 100 likes and then it's just gone out of control," she told the ABC.
"There has been a sea of thank you messages from people. Some were saying they were really worried about starting university but that I've helped them through it.
"It was really heart warming ... you do come across your keyboard warriors but it's just nice to see the positive outweighs the negative."
Ms Sharkey, who studied human resource management, said the photo was intended as a thankyou to the university and a message to other mothers and mothers-to-be that it could be done.
"It wasn't a statement [on breastfeeding] or anything like that. I would have sent the same picture to the uni had he [Alek] had a bottle or a sandwich ... it was just the fact that I'm a mum, it's not I'm a breastfeeding mum, just I'm a mum," she said.
You don't have to give up the career to have kids and you don't have to give up kids to have the career... you can have it all.Jacci Sharkey, USC graduate
"It was really a message of thanks and that other mums can do it as well.
"You don't have to give up the career to have kids and you don't have to give up kids to have the career ... you can have it all."
Both of Ms Sharkey's children, Ari, 20 months old, and Alek, were born throughout her three and a half years at university.
"Just because you're a mum doesn't mean you have to be cooped up in your house all the time," Ms Sharkey said.
Ms Sharkey said USC had been supportive of her and other mothers during her time there by allowing her to take her son to lectures.
"Another tutor was really good with the pregnancy ... and was very supportive. They said just because you have kids doesn't mean you can't study," she said.
"It's really great other people are on the same page."