This article comes with a trigger warning for women who have had traumatic births. It contains a c-section scar photo. If you're still healing emotionally from your birth, please view the photo at your own discretion.
Celebrating c-sections may seem like a strange concept, after all, it’s one thing that many pregnant women are adamant about not wanting.
Many expectant mothers have daydreams of how the birth will go, and probably not one of them imagines it all ending with an emergency c-section.
Birth is a normal physiological process that often unfolds without issue.
However, things do not always go as planned.
Even the World Health Organisation recognizes the importance of access to c-section birth by recommending a c-section figure for any country be between 10 and 15%.
If higher than 15%, the surgery may be being used a little over zealously.
If the rate is fewer than 10%, then the lives of mothers and babies may be being put at risk unnecessarily.
C-sections are major surgery, and they aren’t without risk. But when the life of you or your baby is in danger, those risks are usually worth taking.
It’s pretty difficult to imagine what your first birth will be like. We are fascinated about birth, and yet it’s such a difficult experience to describe. Many pregnant women simply don’t know what to expect because there's no easy way to explain it.
Many women are left shell shocked after a c-section. The recovery time is long, and it can make those first few weeks with the baby that little bit harder as you slowly heal. It’s not an easy time. On top of this, many women are disappointed by the birth experience. Where they imagined candles and water, there were surgical gloves and theatre lights.
Some women are even left feeling that they ‘failed’ at giving birth. This is, of course, untrue, there is no such thing as failure when it comes to birth. Mamas who give birth via c-section are just as brave, inspiring and strong as the mamas who give birth at home. In at attempt to destroy the stigma surrounding c-sections, and to celebrate the fact that this surgery saves lives, one photographer is on a quest to change the world.
A Photographer Set On Changing How Women Feel About Their Bodies And Their Births
UK photographer and expectant mother, Helen Aller, regularly photographs pregnant women as part of her job. During one shoot, the photographer was talking to a client about birth. The client was pregnant with her second child, and was expecting a similar ‘easy’ birth experience as she’d had with her first born. As Helen Aller photographed the pregnant mother, the two women bonded over their fear of c-sections, and their desire to give birth ‘naturally’.
As it turned out, the client experienced complications during labour and ended up giving birth via c-section. The surgery saved the life of both her and her child, and this made the mother realise just how amazing her c-section had been. Just three days after the birth, she invited the photographer back to capture some photographs of her newborn baby. The client, who wishes to remain anonymous, wanted the photographs to celebrate the c-section that had saved both of their lives.
Helen Aller shot a beautiful photograph of the newborn baby curled up in the mother’s lap. Just above the baby’s head, you can see the mama’s c-section wound. The photographer later shared the image on her Facebook page. Of course the post went viral and has now been viewed over 11 million times. Over 65,000 people have shared the image, no doubt inspired by its celebration of birth.
The image has attracted admiring comments from across the world, as women have shared their own birth stories on the post. The beautiful image is helping women to come to terms with their births, and embrace this part of their journey. Sadly, a number of women have commented that they feel ashamed of their c-section scars. Hopefully this viral image will go some way to helping women beat this shame and instead learn to love their scars.
In true social media style, the image has also attracted a number of negative comments. The black and white photograph, which features a naked baby lying across the mother’s bare lap, has been reported to Facebook as ‘offensive’ with some requesting its removal. Thankfully, Facebook has ignored these requests. It has also attracted comments from people who feel the image is sexually inappropriate (no doubt the same ridiculous people who believe breastfeeding mothers are perverts).
If you’ve recently given birth via c-section, check out BellyBelly’s article C Section Recovery – 7 Tips To Help You Recover.