My friend Morag Hastings is a birth photographer in Vancouver, Canada. She contacted me the other day and asked if I would share an image of hers on Facebook as she was in a contest and could I just pass it around in the hopes that she could win? My answer? YES!! Of course! What an easy favor. Well, I hadn’t seen the photo. At first it took my breath away. It was so powerful. It evoked SO many emotions in me and knee jerk reactions. The lighting and color, the action. I hesitated to share it knowing so many people might react in ways that may not be positive. Then I thought, well who the hell am I to police peoples emotions? Who am I to censor art?
the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.
Well there you go. So I shared it on all my pages on Facebook and the reactions were across the board. Some were horrified at the rawness of it. Others (doulas and midwives mostly), voiced concern over HOW the baby was handled. I have been assured that yes, baby did receive Chiropractic care and Craniosacral Therapy. Which sparked conversations about what those things were.
Non birth care providers wondered as well if all babies were handled this way. The image sparked debate and made many people question what a cesarean really was. Some mothers shared with me that they wish they had ANY images of their babies arriving earth side. Others said it was healing. Many said it was a trigger and made them very sad.
This photograph started conversations about the dangers of pulling heads whether during a cesarean or vaginal birth. It made people question if the number of c sections occurring today is too high. Right now one in three pregnant women will undergo major abdominal surgery. Recently the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists released a paper saying that YES that number is too high.
What I hope isn’t lost on people is that this isn’t just an image. It’s a real life document of how THIS baby arrived. This is someone’s child. Someone’s experience. While we sit here and think about how this makes us feel lets be sure to remember that some courageous mama and family gave their permission to let this image be used. It’s so easy to let something like this image trigger you and make you FORGET that this baby is not yours, this moment in someones journey doesn’t belong to you and about how powerful ART is.
Exchanging ideas and conversing is SO important, I am glad Morag contacted me and that she took this amazing photograph. Please share your comments and stories in the comments and do vote for this amazing photograph.
This quote from Robert Anthony Peters (lecturer on the relationship between art and liberty) sums up my feelings exactly:
“The beauty of art is that it taps into our emotions. In so far as it does that, it creates a stronger empathetic bond with others. This empathy should lead to a greater toleration for the paths and choices trod and made by others. When this is coupled with reason, it can only conclude with the wisdom of a maximization of freedom for all, so that each may make decisions in accordance with their best ability to reach their own happiness.”
About the photographer: Morag Hastings is a professional birth photographer and doula located in Vancouver, BC Canada. She is a DONA Certified Birth Doula, hypno-doula, and personally experienced in childbirth. She has also participated in the Birthing from Within Mentor and Doula workshop and graduated from the Langara Collage Professional Photography Program in 2000. Morag is honoured to provide services as a birth doula and a professional birth photographer to families living in Vancouver, BC Canada. Apple Blossom Families, Vancouver doula and Vancouver birth photographer, support and document your birth with Vancouvers premier professional birth photographers.