Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

“Giving life shouldn’t be a competition of how you did it”: C-section photograph goes viral sparking debate over caesareans and shame

helen carmina photography c section cesarean baby photograph.jpg

When Photographer Helen Aller shared this image of a woman and her newborn, fresh C-section scar fully visible, she had no idea it would provoke a worldwide reaction.

So far 216,065 people have ‘liked’ the post on Facebook, over 11.5 million have seen the image, and plenty more have now read about it in the mainstream media.

The rawness of the photograph, taken just days after the birth where the woman, who has chosen to remain nameless, had to have an emergency caesarean, has caught the attention of people the world over.

Explaining the story behind the photograph, Helen, who is based in Guernsey and is currently eight months pregnant herself, writes:

“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 labour 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.”

Now, the powerful image is being praised by women who have themselves undergone C-sections, for opening up the public conversation surrounding both the struggle of dealing with and recovering from a caesarean, as well as feelings towards the scars.

 

EDIT: I didn't expect this image to reach so far. I understand everyone has their own opinion which they are entitled...

Posted by Helen Carmina Photography on Tuesday, 11 August 2015

From feelings of guilt about not being able to deliver their baby naturally, to embarrassment and shame about the scars on their abdomens, women everywhere have opened up about what it’s really like to have a C-section.

One woman writes on Facebook beneath Helen’s image:

“To have a C-section is not easy! You feel them pull and tear you. Not the pain but the movements. 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 (i had flu b at the time) your [sic] in agony and feel like your stitches are going to burst. C-sections are hard work. I feel ashamed for not trying harder but the drs tell me that I couldn't. This mum is Beautiful!”

While one father chose to respond to negative comments surrounding the topic, with a moving dedication to his wife:

“A good mother isn't defined by the process of labour or whether she breast fed or not a good mother is defined by the sacrifices and love she gives to her children. Both our children were delivered by C-section and I can assure you it's not the easy option by any means. It's just as scary and the recovery if [sic] far more painful and long lasting than labour.”

"And as for the negative comments about the scar....I love my wife's scars as they show the sacrifice she made to safely bring our children into this world. That's what makes a good mother, not 'natural births' or breast feeding or anything else, just because their choices where different from yours doesn't give you the right to judge them.”

Mary Cole Facebook comment c-section photograph

Helen says that she's now prouder than ever of the photograph, because it’s allowed so many people to open up about their experiences and connect with each other.

Talking to the Huffington Post, she says: “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. Giving life shouldn’t be a competition of how you did it.”

Scot Brown Facebook comment c-section photograph

Words: Amy Lewis

 

Related

mombod.jpg

Mums celebrate post pregnancy bodies with stretchmark and stomach pics

ultra.jpg

“I had three miscarriages and it was the loneliest period of my life”

Untitled-5.jpg

Dad hits back at school for shaming daughter in 'inappropriate' dress

cindhero.jpg

'Real, honest, gorgeous': Unaltered image of Cindy Crawford goes viral

rexfeatures_1610031a.jpg

Words of wisdom from our favourite childhood TV shows

tumblr_njugykqKCM1rebdgoo3_1280.jpg

Hard-hitting photos show the pressure on women to be attractive

Comments

More

At last - Britain's first gravy bar is coming

Finally, a proper way to enjoy chips

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

“When are you going to get hitched?” How to tackle intrusive questions

Useful responses for the most annoying of questions

27 Mar 2017

Oh, happy day: a live Sister Act show is coming to London

Featuring a 35-piece gospel choir and full band

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Westworld creators answer one of the big questions about Maeve

And star Thandie Newton addresses the show’s violence toward women

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Women link hands on Westminster Bridge to honour victims

Many wore blue as a symbol of hope and peace

by Anna Pollitt
27 Mar 2017

New report: endometriosis symptoms often “dismissed” by doctors

42% of women said they were “not treated with dignity and respect” by doctors

by Amy Swales
27 Mar 2017

Airline defends decision to ban girls from flight for wearing leggings

The incident was “sexist and sexualised young girls”, according to an observer.

by Moya Crockett
27 Mar 2017

Deliveroo is giving away free ice cream to make your Monday better

That's your lunch break sorted.

by Hayley Spencer
27 Mar 2017

Muslim witness of Westminster attack responds to Islamophobic trolls

A picture of the woman walking on Westminster Bridge has been shared widely

by Nicola Colyer
24 Mar 2017

Bright, beautiful and bold Easter cake inspiration

Stylish bake ideas to nick and claim as your own

by Amy Swales
24 Mar 2017