So many photographers tend to sanitize the labour/birth experience. Not British mom-of-two Helen Aller. Her black-and-white portrait of a mom with her three day-old baby revealed very fresh C-section scars.
The candid photo was too graphic for some tastes, with some even calling for Facebook to remove it. Yet the image obviously struck a cord with many others, with 'likes' exceeding 200,000 since it was posted on Facebook.
For 29-year-old Aller, the motivation was clear:
"I photographed this mama’s pregnancy a while back and she was telling me how terrified she was of having a c-section. Well last week she went into labor but had to have an emergency c-section after complications. She asked me to come over this morning and shoot this particular image as her worst nightmare proved to be what saved her and her child’s lives."
I can see that to some viewers the image is gruesome, excessive even. The baby is resting on the mom's genitals, after all. The pubic area is shaved, and the Cesarean incision is fresh.
To others, it simply goes by the name of Realism. So many babies are born - often under life-threatening circumstances - by C-section. And natural birth can be just as gory and spectacular, trust me.
Perhaps commenter Ruth Mills said it best: "...the woman who said she wouldn't have any of her children that close to her genitalia... really? Did the stork bring yours?"
Is Aller's photo something I'd frame and hang in my own family room? Not necessarily, but she's right to showcase the mom's pride. With this portrait, Allen wanted to challenge the stigma - and she has done exactly that.
Too many moms feel like they have somehow failed if they planned a natural birth then, for whatever reason, needed a C-section. Truly, it doesn't matter how your baby comes to be in this world. The only reflection of your motherhood is in the love you show your child...
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