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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I was in the dentist chair when I heard about the baby locked inside a safe at a Niagara Falls hotel. Like most people, I gasped. My jaw clenched even tighter (I was in the dentist chair, after all) and my stomach dropped out.
What kind of parents would do such a thing?
Turns out, the incident that horrified the masses was an accident - a hide and seek game between siblings gone awry. The older child didn't know how to open the safe once the infant got trapped inside.
Parents immediately called upon hotel staff at the Howard Johnson for help. The child stayed conscious and communicated with her parents throughout the ordeal.
Following an interview, the Canadian authorities absolved the Brooklyn, N.Y., parents of criminality in this case. Lapses in attention can happen to the best of us, in the blink of an eye. I know this, because a toddler I once babysat got her chubby thighs wedged between the bars of a baby gate.
It all happened in a nanosecond. My breath caught. Panic. Sick panic.
I wasn't some neglectful, awful person. Still, my skin crawled. If anyone had walked in at that moment, they'd come to said conclusion in a heartbeat.
Fortunately I managed to wriggle her legs free, and we both learned an important lesson that day.
Are there lessons to be gleaned in this case? Of course. Like maybe hotel safes shouldn't be accessible to young children. Like maybe parents keep a close eye on your kids even in self-contained hotel rooms...
But by far the overriding lesson: resist the urge to automatically think the worst of parents, when the truth behind the headline is seldom as morbid or malicious as it seems.
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Going away is risky business for parents (just ask Harry Connick Jr.). No matter how much you trust your kids, you can't be 100% sure they won't stage a rave inside your living room and trash the joint. One mom was even so nervous to leave her son in charge of minding the house while she was away, she left him a series of hilarious Post-It notes. Oh, yeah, and he's 27.
OK, so Martyn Hett may have had a bit of a track record when he was younger. Still, prior to a two-week trip to Turkey, his mom went into full control freaky mode, leaving him a total of THIRTEEN notes around the house, including this classic:
"Top floor toilet. Don't do a No 2 as it doesn't flush well. Also don't lock that door YOU MAY NEVER ESCAPE!!!!"
Pretty valuable intel. No wonder Hett couldn't resist poking fun of his mom Figen's missives on Facebook.
Who knew house sitting could be so complicated? Thanks for the notes mumPosted by Martyn Hakan Hett on Tuesday, August 18, 2015
She's also cognizant that her PR exec son isn't fond of the "evil" family cat Misty and clearly fears its fate while Hett is in charge: "Balcony door in your bedroom. Be careful with the cat!"
She reminds her grown boy to stay in touch with "Email, what's up, FaceTime." Er, think you mean, WhatsApp, Ma.
She's right to be worried. Even Hett admitted that when he was 15 he threw a wild house party, with 150 people showing up after he put an invite on MSN.
And it seems the rebel of young is still alive and kicking in the adult Hett, who confessed "I'll probably have [a party] anyway. It's too good a house to waste."
I've been known to leave Post-Its on the remote controls when my parents are watching our house. But thanks Figen's lead, I may do the same when I'm away since after six years in our current home, my husband still doesn't know where anything is, let alone how to use the stove.
Image Source: Facebook