PARENTS

Scared About C-Sections? This Photo Has Started A Global Conversation About The Beauty Of A Mum's Body

14/08/2015 17:38 BST | Updated 14/08/2015 17:59 BST
HelenCarminaPhotography

Photographer Helen Aller often takes photos of newborns and their mums, but she wasn't prepared for the reaction her latest shot has received.

On first sight, you simply see a newborn laying on his mum's lap, but the full photo reveals a powerful story.

Aller, from Guernsey, photographed a pregnant mother in July and learned that the expectant mum was terrified of the thought of having a caesarean.

After the woman had given birth she called Aller to tell her that her fear had been realised.

The photographer told HuffPost UK Parents: "She had to have an emergency c-section. She asked me to go over and shoot this particular image to show that her biggest fear ended up saving both their lives."

Since being uploaded on the 11 August, the photo has had nearly 37,000 shares, 17,000 comments and more than 128,000 likes.

Aller added: "My images usually get seen seen by 100 people at most so I never thought it would reach anywhere near what it has done. So far it has been seen by over 7.5 million people."

csection

In the photo, the newborn - only three days old - is lying directly underneath his mother's scar from her emergency caesarean.

The photographer told HuffPost UK Parents: "To me it’s a beautiful image that shows both a struggle and something beautiful.

"I have received so so many stories from c-section mums saying how it has changed the way they look at their scars.

"I can’t believe the amount of women that are ashamed of their scars and are made to feel like they haven’t done the job properly because they didn’t give birth naturally. In fact I am stunned.

"I feel proud that an image I created has allowed so many people to open up about their experiences and change the way they feel about something they should only feel pride for.

"Giving life shouldn’t be a competition of how you did it.

"I also think it’s turned into more than just the image. I think it’s more about people coming together sharing their feelings over something that often gets overlooked and put to one side."

Aller said she was very careful about the placement of the baby.

She explained to Baby Centre: "The baby could not of been placed higher as I was concerned about pressure too close to her wound.

"His head is supported by her pubic bone. We had just finished up shots of the baby asleep on a bean bag so the mum got in position and I placed baby straight onto her asleep and took the shot."

When Carmina uploaded the photo to her Facebook page, expectant mothers and mothers themselves commented to tell her how inspirational the photo was.

One mother-to-be wrote: "I may be in need of a section... petrified! This picture has inspired me. Congratulations."

Another wrote: "I'm pregnant with my first baby and I'm absolutely terrified of having to have a c-section. After seeing this beautiful photo, it brought me so much comfort. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. You're absolutely beautiful."

Others were encouraged to share their own birth stories.

One mother wrote: "I had an emergency c-section with my son and this makes me feel quite emotional. What a brave mama and fantastic photo."

Another mum added: "To have a c-section is not easy! You feel them pull and tear you and you usually vomit which isn't easy. Then take months to recover.

"You can't just get up and walk. Every time you cough you're in agony and feel like your stitches are going to burst. C-sections are hard work. This mum is beautiful."

SEE ALSO:

So You Had an Emergency C-Section

The Don't Beat Yourself Up Guide To Having An Emergency C Section

A mum also commented: "This picture is so beautiful. I can't help but relate to and feel the emotion it depicts.

"I had a c-section for my first but went on to have a vbac [vaginal delivery] with my second. It is just amazing that we were created for such an special purpose. Amazing."

But it wasn't only mums who were inspired by the photo. Many dads waded in on the conversation, bursting with pride over their wives who had to have caesareans.

One dad wrote: "I have yet to meet or hear from a guy that says, 'oh gross, c-section scars are disgusting or horrible'. We also see the beauty in giving birth to a child no matter how it happens."

Another dad commented: "Women are beautiful and have the gift of life.

"I have nothing but respect for any and every mum because I truly believe that if that gift had been given to man we would be extinct.

"Helen Aller you have posted a beautiful picture that all woman and all fathers should be proud of. Good work!"

One dad reflected back on his wife's birth story: "My wife had both our children via c-section. She tries to hide it and wishes it wasn't there because it's a scar but every time I see it I think about how she's the best mum I could've wanted for my children.

"I don't see a scar - I see a love that doesn't stop. I see a mother who gives everything she has. I see every reason I ever loved her."

Another dad added: "C-section scars should be a celebration and reminder that we don't live in the dark ages where women and their babies often died during the pregnancy or birth.

"Every time I see my wife's scar I smile because it reminds me of how lucky we are to have three beautiful kids and how grateful I am to have my wife with me to enjoy watching them grow up."

However, not everyone was as positive when they saw the photo. Aller said the photo was reported to Facebook, but they refused to take it down.

She told us: "There have been a fair few negatives too. I have definitely had to grow a thick skin the last few days. Everyone has an opinion on it and that is good. People should have opinions thats what makes something great."

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